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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States
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.
Recommendation: The Bureau of Labor Statistics should periodically conduct special studies to document the employment of children under the age of 14 and of special populations of children and adolescents, such as minorities, immigrants, migrant farmworkers, and those who are poor or disabled. Also needed are periodic studies of children and adolescents who are illegally employed.
Recommendation: The Bureau of Labor Statistics should develop methods to generate reliable estimates of youth employment at the state level.
Many agencies—including the National Center for Health Statistics, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Center for Education Statistics, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration—collect much information on children and adolescents. Many of these agencies include information on the work experiences of children and adolescents, but there is no standard for what information is gathered or how it is reported. Standard definitions and nomenclature, on such items as work status, age groupings, and hours of work categories, are needed to make the various sources of information more complementary.
Recommendation: Federal agencies that collect data related to work by children and adolescents should establish standardized nomenclature and definitions for such variables as work status, age groups, and hours of work. Those agencies that collect data for health, education, and development purposes should also collect data on the employment of youngsters in their surveys.
Many young workers' occupational injuries, illnesses, and exposures to hazardous substances are preventable if proper public health