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How Gen Z teens accidentally blew up the myth of the lazy millennial

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(Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Hannah Waring, left, a student at Loudoun Valley High School, and Abby McDonough, a student at Liberty University, worked at Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton, Va., in the summer of 2017.

Washington Post, July 2022

When we look at the teen employment rate—or, as we more affectionately know it, the employment-to-population ratio for ages 16 to 19—two trends stand out: The millennial collapse. And the Gen Z rebound.

When the first millennials turned 16 in 1997, teen employment was above 43 percent. When the last of their generation hit 16 in 2014, it had plunged to around 26 percent. But as the first zoomers entered the workforce, the employment rate suddenly began to climb again. It now stands around 33 percent and is seeing its first sustained growth in decades. These trends trigger an obvious question: What the Sam Heck happened with millennials?

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