Teen unemployment continues to rise

Martha C. White

While flipping burgers or manning a cash register during one's teen years is a rite of passage shared by many of today's adults, it's possible that today's teens will instead remember their protracted job searches as their introduction to the workforce.

Even as the media sounded a note of tentative optimism over the latest unemployment data that showed job losses may be abating, the numbers of young adults unable to get a job has continued to escalate.

Teen unemployment currently stands at 22.7%, the highest figure since 1992, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this number might not seem all that high, keep in mind that the BLS only tallies up the number of teens actively looking for work who can't find it. High-schoolers who take themselves out of the equation to pursue sports or extracurricular activities instead aren't counted.

While the prospect of your teen spending all summer with his or her sneakers propped on the arm of the couch while flipping between MTV and Maury might be headache-inducing, economists worry about the bigger picture.