Teens are now “essential” workers, too

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from April to July of 2019, 21.2 million people ages 16-24 were employed. The most common industries for youth jobs last summer included food, health, and education services. Now, many of the jobs were commonplace for youth workers—being a grocery store cashier, for instance—have become part of the “essential” workforce deemed critical during the Covid-19 pandemic. And in some families, teenagers are also the new essential income earners. Teen Vogue spoke with four teenagers who said they are working to make up for the income their parents lost due to the pandemic. On top of juggling jobs and schoolwork, these young people may also be managing very real risks to their health and safety. Aryam, a high schooler in Chicago, moved 30 minutes away from her immediate family in order to protect her grandfather, who lives in the family home, from exposure to any illness she might bring home from her job at Chipotle. “My family needed a source of income, so I decided to work and help out,” she said.