Washington's Teen Unemployment is 4th highest in the country - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington's Teen Unemployment is 4th highest in the country

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YAKIMA, Wash- Washington State 33.2% teen unemployment, the fourth highest in the country according to a new report by the Employment Policies Institute.

Worksource says there a few reasons Washington State's rate is so high.  First with the agriculture-based economy in Washington and Central Washington in particular, much of the state's employment is seasonal.  Therefore for about 6 months a year, there are a lot less jobs in Washington. 

Also, teens are typically considered inexpensive labor, but Washington State has the highest minimum wage in the country.  So at $8.67 an hour teens can be just as expensive as adult workers.

Additionally, there's also the job market in general.  High unemployment is leading adults to take jobs that are often filled by teens.

"When there's one job and an employer has to select from 40 candidates, many of them overqualified long term experience and then they have a teen with limited experience, it's very difficult to choose a teen over a regular employee", says Sondra Pieti of Yakima WorkSource.

As summer approaches more teens are expected to be looking for work.   And Monday April18th they will be hosting the annual youth job fair in Yakima geared at providing 100 jobs for 100 teens.  The fair will be held from 1-5 in the Southeast Community Center Gymnasium.