Just as "high school" was invented as a way to keep teenagers off the streets most of the year, "summer jobs" were invented as a way to keep them off the streets for the remainder of the year. But even five years after the Great Recession struck, summer jobs are as scarce as [reference to some teen-specific buzzword here]. Can someone hire these fucking kids, please?

All the jobs once held by teens in the summer have, since the recession, been snatched up by desperate unemployed regular people who need the income just to survive. That leaves teens driftless, aimless, and with nothing to occupy their time except for, I don't know, pornography video games and street harassment of upstanding citizens, I imagine. The latest grim numbers, via the Wall Street Journal:

Less than a third of 16- to 19-year-olds had jobs this summer, essentially unchanged from a year ago, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday. Before the recession, more than 40% of teens had summer jobs. One in four teens who tried to find work failed to get a job, far above the 7.4% unemployment rate for the broader population.

That means millions more teenagers are, as we speak, just lounging around without learning any values whatsoever. Time to step up and do your god damn patriotic duty, Taco Bell.

[WSJ. Photo: Andrew King/ Flickr]