gage is also lacking. Finally, there are very little data on children and adolescents who are illegally employed, either in violation of child labor laws or in illicit activities.
The Current Population Survey only asks about work performed by those aged 15 and older, although research and anecdotal evidence suggest that many children and adolescents hold their first jobs at ages much younger than 15. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), many jobs are legal for 14-year-olds; in agriculture, children as young as 10 can legally perform some jobs. In order to understand the work experiences of young people, information on the numbers of children and young adolescents who work and the types of jobs they hold is vital. Good employment data are also necessary to establish information about injury rates.
The information on all adolescents needs to be reported in ways that are useful to researchers and policy makers. Aggregating information into broad groups, such as 15-to 24-year-olds or 16-to 19-year-olds, obscures important differences that may exist at crucial developmental and legal periods.
Information on the numbers of hours worked per job would allow better assessment of workers' exposures to workplace hazards and more accurate calculation of injury rates. These data are particularly important for groups of workers who are not full-time employees, such as children and adolescents. Calculating injury rates by using injuries per employee underestimates the actual extent of exposure for part-time workers. Information on the numbers of hours worked allows for the calculation of injury rates using denominator units, such as full-time-employee equivalents, that account for the actual amounts of exposure to hazards. The Current Population Survey collects information on the hours individuals have worked in the previous week on all their jobs: For those with more than one job, this aggregation does not allow for the calculation of industry-specific injury rates.
Recommendation: The Bureau of Labor Statistics should routinely collect and report data on the employment of young people aged 14 and older. Such data should be reported by informative age groupings, by school status (e.g., school year or summer and in-school or not-in-school), and by hours worked per job. For the decennial census, the Bureau of the Census should collect and report similar data on employment for young workers.