It's fairly amazing to write an article called "Why Young People Can't Find Work" that doesn't include the word recession or the phrase going to college, but the Wall Street Journal's opinion section is nothing if not consistently amazing, in its own way. So no surprise that in an op-ed in this morning's paper, Andrew Puzder, a restaurant executive, uses the question as a shoehorn to slip smoothly into a familiar criticism of Obamacare, which he blames for everything from depressing employment to destroying entry-level jobs.
Rather than pick on Puzder, I'll pick on his shoehorn: Why can't young people find work, really? There are three reasons.
The first reason that young people can't find work is that they're not looking for work, because they're in school.
Puzder notes that the BLS just recorded the lowest percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds working or looking for work since it started counting such things in 1948. But look what else changed since the 1940s: The share of the population with less than a high school education fell from 76 percent to 12 percent, while the share of Americans with a bachelor's degree septupled to 32 percent. The BLS itself says that "the major factor producing this significant [change in labor participation] has been an increase in school attendance at all levels."