How important is all of this? More than ever, if you listen to Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. Over the summer, the teen employment rate nationwide was 32 percent, the third worst showing ever. The inequities among races were even more striking: 39 percent of white teens held jobs compared with 19 percent of black teens.
For idle youths, Sum says, “This is the equivalent of a Great, Great Depression.”