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Fewer teens are getting summer jobs

Today's teens aren't as likely to get summer jobs as they used to be. But data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that they're four times as likely to take summer classes than in the 1980s, and there are more teens taking unpaid internships. So why don't they want the money?

The bottom line: The steep drop in money earned from jobs and other sources — mainly allowances — for teens occurred in the late 2000s, when the smartphone was born. Why? Because they don't need as much money for socializing if they can do it at home.

Data: The Decline in Adult Activities Among U.S. Adolescents, 1976–2016, Twenge et al.; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios

Studies suggest that teens typically spend their money on social activities, such as going out with friends, Laurence Steinberg, a professor of psychology and author of Age of Opportunity, tells Axios. Now, they're able to socialize on their phones, at home. "If they're going out less, then they probably have less of a need for money ... If they don't need the money, then they're not gonna work," Steinberg says.

There are three reasons that could explain why teens don't need the money, Steinberg says.

  1. Social media is free. They can talk to friends without leaving home.
  2. There's a rise in helicopter parenting. Today's parents may be stricter in imposing curfews to keep teens from going out and, consequently, spending money.
  3. Teens are more concerned about their resumes. They're swapping seasonal jobs at frozen yogurt shops and as lifeguards for unpaid internships in career areas of interest to them or summer classes at local universities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 10% of teens took summer classes in 1985, compared to 42% in 2016.

Be smart: People are quick to attribute the falling rates of teen employment to laziness. But the truth is, teens are occupying themselves with other productive activities, Steinberg says. "Teenagers can't win. We get mad at them for going out, then we get mad at them for staying home with their parents."

Go deeper: Teens are becoming adults later than they used to.

Amy Harder Mar 23
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Climate change goes to business school(s)

Beautiful long entrance to Duke University, with the chapel at the end
Duke University Chapel. Photo: Lance King/Getty Images

More than a dozen business schools and some of Wall Street’s biggest firms are converging for the next two days at Duke University to discuss the business effects of climate change.

Why it matters: This conference is being billed as the first to bring together students from a range of business schools to address the issue. That reflects both how climate change is becoming more of a tangible business concern and that younger people care more about it than older generations.

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The U.S. suburbs are hot again

The talk around the world is about the rise of the city. But in the U.S., suburbanization is accelerating, according to new Census data released today.

Data: Census Bureau, analysis by Jed Kolko at Indeed.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

What's happening: Since about 2011, the growth of the urban counties of large cities has been sliding. Population growth in their higher-density suburbs has been falling since 2015 as well. But, as you see in the chart above, lower-density suburbs had the highest growth among all places, and exurbs and small towns have also been on the rise, according to an analysis of the data by Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed.