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Why are fewer teens working jobs than before?

Summer jobs are a rite of passage for many teens, but that may be fading.

PHOENIX - Thirty percent of teens between 16 and 19 years old are currently part of the workforce, according to data from the New York Times. That's compared to 45 percent back in 2000.

This drop in workers cannot be attributed to just one factor, but has created a strain on some small business owners across the country who find themselves with open positions and not enough employees.

"In the previous generations, we grew up knowing we had to work our way up," said Sharlet Barnet, the CEO of Arizona Center for Youth Resources, which strives to provide local youth with the skills needed to succeed in education and employment.

The generational divides may be just one of many reasons why it appears teenagers are less eager to work.

"Whereas nowadays it's, 'If you get that job, and you have a four-year degree, you can expect to go into a position that looks like this,'" she said.

Instilling good work ethic is crucial at an early age, according to Barnet, and this demographic is especially vulnerable to social pressures.

"If their friend and peer group has a specific thought process about an employer, they’re probably not going to want to go get a job with that employer," she said.

But are there even enough jobs in the Valley that are available to teens?

"There are those jobs available but we as an organization spend a lot of time cultivating those employers," she said.

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