"By definition, teenage workers get the jobs that are left over," said Charles Hirschman, a sociology professor at the University of Washington who has studied and written about student employment. "When you can't find someone else to bag your groceries or work construction, often teenagers are the labor force you can count on to pick up that slack for a low wage. But now, with the recession, everybody has moved down. Those jobs aren't going to teenagers."
"Everybody wants to do it. Every positive thing in life is highly correlated with education. Most adolescents know that, and most parents know that," Mr. Hirschman said.