Topic Archives: Students (K-12)

How Hazardous are Summer Jobs for Our Young Workers?

During the summer months, young people (ages 16 to 24) may head to work, many for the first time. Maybe it’s babysitting or lawn mowing. Or perhaps you’re a lifeguard or working at the local fast food joint. With many students out of school and looking for opportunities in the workforce, just how safe are these new workers? In what types of jobs do workplace fatalities most commonly occur for these young workers and why?

From 2011 to 2016, 2,176 young workers were killed while on the job. One-third of these fatal injuries occurred during the summertime; 20 percent of the workers killed were ages 16–19, while the remaining 80 percent were ages 20–24.

Where do young worker fatalities occur?

While there are restrictions on the types of work that certain younger workers can do and the number of hours they can work, young workers still often have hazardous jobs. Construction and extraction occupations accounted for 22 percent of fatalities to young workers during the summer months, followed by transportation and material moving (17 percent) and farming, fishing, and forestry (11 percent). Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations accounted for 25 percent of all fatalities for workers ages 16–19, compared with only 8 percent for workers ages 20–24.

Chart showing percent distribution of fatal work injuries during the summer months by occupation and age, 2011–16

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

Over the 6-year period, construction laborers experienced the most fatal injuries of any individual occupation for both 16–19 year-old workers (36 fatal injuries) and 20–24 year-old workers (126 fatal injuries).

Are young workers more or less likely to have workplace fatalities?

Young workers have lower fatality rates than middle age and older workers. In 2016, workers ages 16–17, 18–19, and 20–24 all had lower fatal injury rates than the total fatality rate of 3.6 workers per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

Chart showing rate of fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers by age, 2016

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

What kinds of fatal incidents occur to young workers?

Transportation incidents accounted for the greatest proportion of workplace fatalities to both 16–19 year-old and 20–24 year-old workers. Transportation incidents include those involving airplanes, trains, water vehicles, or pedestrians struck by vehicles. The most prevalent are “roadway” incidents, where the person killed was in a vehicle. Typical roadway incidents include collisions between vehicles, collisions between a vehicle and something other than a vehicle, and noncollision incidents, such as a vehicle that jackknifes or overturns.

Roadway incidents alone accounted for more than one-quarter of fatal injuries to workers ages 16–19 and 20–24, which is similar to all workers.

Fatal occupational injuries to young workers in the summer months by event or exposure and age, 2011–16
Event or exposure Ages 16–19 Ages 20–24
Violence and other injuries by persons or animals 9% 18%

Homicides

6 8

Suicides

3 9
Transportation incidents 51 42

Roadway incidents

27 26
Fall, slip, trip 6 7

Fall to lower level

6 7
Exposure to harmful substances or environments 13 17

Exposure to electricity

5 8
Contact with objects and equipment 19 11

Struck by object or equipment

13 8
Note: Totals do not add to 100 percent because some fatal injuries did not fall into any of these categories.

Workers ages 16–19 experienced a higher proportion of fatalities due to contact with objects and equipment, such as being struck by an object or equipment. Workers ages 20–24 experienced a higher proportion of fatal injuries due to workplace violence—both homicides and suicides.

What resources are available to increase young worker safety?

Before you apply for that next summer job, or before you tell your kids to get out from behind the video games and get a job, you might want to learn more about hazards in the workplace. Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have online resources to help prevent workplace injuries and fatalities to young workers.

Want to know more about fatalities in the workplace?

Percent distribution of fatal work injuries during the summer months by occupation and age, 2011–16
Occupation Ages 16–19 Ages 20–24 Age 25 and older
Farming, fishing, and forestry 25% 8% 5%
Construction and extraction 21 22 20
Transportation and material moving 16 18 26
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance 10 6 7
Military occupations 6 6 1
Sales and related 4 6 4
Installation, maintenance, and repair 4 8 8
Production 3 4 4
Protective service 3 8 5
All other 8 14 20
Rate of fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers by age, 2016
Age Fatal work injury rate
16 to 17 2.1
18 to 19 1.9
20 to 24 2.4
25 to 34 2.5
35 to 44 3.1
45 to 54 3.5
55 to 64 4.7
65 and older 9.6

Introducing the new Career Outlook for students, jobseekers, career counselors, and others

I am delighted to introduce the new BLS publication Career Outlook. Formerly known as Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Career Outlook has a new name, a new look, and new features for students, career counselors, jobseekers, researchers, and others. Career Outlook provides helpful information about choosing an occupation, changing careers, understanding education and training options, and more.

You will find several kinds of articles in Career Outlook.

  • Feature articles present in-depth studies of topics such as occupations and industries, employment projections, and career planning.
  • You’re a what?” articles profile unique or interesting occupations, such as ornithologist and golf ball diver.
  • Interview with a…” lets you follow a worker’s career path in a question-and-answer format.
  • Data on display” showcases data in graphs, along with accompanying analysis.
  • Quick Tips provide links to helpful websites for scholarships and other topics of interest.

Career Outlook articles are written in straightforward language and provide relevant BLS data, where appropriate. A list of related content accompanies each article so that readers can get more information on the topics they want to see. New articles are posted to Career Outlook frequently, so be sure to check back!

You also can sign up to receive email alerts when new Career Outlook articles are published. Just type your email address in the box on the lower right side of the Career Outlook homepage.

Visit the new Career Outlook today!

Helping young people learn about economic statistics—and have fun doing it!

This week we have guest bloggers, Jean Fox and Robin Kaplan of the BLS Office of Survey Methods Research. Jean and Robin are part of a team of staff members who have been working to improve our web resources for students and their teachers and parents.

BLS recently launched a new K-12 website to reach out to our youngest audience—students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The goal of the site is to help students learn about BLS concepts related to statistics and the economy and to help them make informed career decisions.

The new site has a mix of games, resources for students and teachers, and facts about BLS. Students can play games that teach them about BLS concepts, find careers that relate to their interests, and learn facts about the economy and jobs. Teachers can use the content on the site to bring BLS into the classroom, with hands-on activities that teach students about topics such as inflation, time use, and careers.

The development team wanted to get feedback about the site directly from kids. So when the Department of Labor (DOL) hosted a “Take your Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” we took advantage of the opportunity to see what the kids thought.

During the event, we held sessions in a DOL computer lab. Four different groups of 20 students each came through the lab, including students from elementary, middle, and high school. During each session, we gave a brief demonstration of the site, then let the kids try it out on their own. Most of the kids tried at least one of the games, and a number of them looked at career information. At the end of each session, we had a brief discussion about their experience and their recommendations for the site.

Overall, the students (and the chaperones!) liked the material on the site, but they had some great ideas for improving it. For example:

  • The students thought the games should have more of a “celebration” when they won.
  • Some students thought the games were too hard, others thought they were too easy. To address this, we should be sure to include different levels of difficulty for the games.
  • A couple of students mentioned that they might want to access the games and other content from a cell phone or a tablet, so we should make sure everything works on these devices.
  • Several students suggested that we should have more games; they were happy to hear we had more planned.

Overall, students who looked at the career information thought it was useful and interesting. They also had some suggestions, including:

  • We should make it easier to find information about occupations that were not listed on our page. Our Occupational Outlook Handbook contains information about hundreds of jobs, so the K-12 site should provide an easy way to reach it.
  • We should make sure that we include the more popular occupations on the K-12 career exploration page.

The team has already incorporated some of the suggestions. We are continuing to revise the site to add content and address additional suggestions from the kids. We are also working to get more feedback from students and teachers to improve the site for everyone. By creating content that appeals to kids, we hope to continue our mission of reaching out to the next generation of BLS customers.

If you have suggestions or comments, please contact the team at Kids@bls.gov.

Recent publications and new K-12 Chart Maker tool

It has been another busy week with interesting new BLS publications and products. One item I want to draw your attention to is a Monthly Labor Review article that examines the rise in women’s share of nonfarm employment during the 2007–2009 recession. Back in January 1964, women held 31.7 percent of total nonfarm jobs. Women’s employment has continued to expand over the past half century and accounted for an unprecedented 50.0 percent of all payroll jobs in the last month of the 2007–2009 recession. Women’s share of payroll jobs held at that level for 11 consecutive months and then edged down; as of December 2013, however, that share was still high, at 49.5 percent. The author of the article, BLS economist Catherine Wood, examined trends in women’s and men’s employment during all previous recessions back to the 1969–1970 recession and found that men’s employment always declined at a greater rate than women’s employment. In fact, women’s employment even continued to increase during some recessions, although that was not the case during the 2007–2009 recession. Nevertheless, job losses among men outnumbered those among women by 2.6 to 1 during the most recent recession.

BLS also published a new edition of Spotlight on Statistics this week that presents a series of graphics on trends in income and expenditures during and after the 2007–2009 recession. In 2011, average household income exceeded the 2008 level in nominal terms (that is, without adjusting for price inflation). Similarly, in 2012, average consumer expenditures exceeded 2008 levels. While average income and expenditure levels have returned to prerecession levels, the gains have been distributed unevenly across income quintiles. (Income quintiles are five equally sized groups of households that have been divided from lowest to highest according to their annual income.) Between 2008 and 2012, the highest income quintile accounted for more than 80 percent of the total increase in household income in the United States, while the expenditure increases of the highest income quintile accounted for almost half of the total spending gains across all five quintiles during the same time period.

Last October I highlighted the new BLS K-12 pages, which provide classroom activities, games, quizzes, and more to make learning economics and statistics fun. The pages also provide information to help students learn more about career options. I mentioned that new material would be added to these pages regularly. This week we added a new Chart Maker tool that offers students and teachers a fun way to create interactive line, column, and bar charts.

Finally, I want to mention that we posted new information this week about the fiscal year 2014 budget enacted for BLS. I announced in late February that BLS will curtail the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and the International Price Program in order to achieve the necessary savings for the 2014 funding level and protect core BLS programs. Since that announcement, discussions have been initiated to explore alternative federal sources of funding to continue producing and publishing the International Price Program export price indexes. BLS will continue to produce and publish these indexes through the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Once the discussions to explore alternative funding sources are concluded, an announcement will be made concerning how the necessary data will be produced to avoid any disruption to the calculation of real Gross Domestic Product, which relies on the export price data.

Post-government shutdown updates; new BLS K-12 pages

As many people noticed, the Employment Situation report for September 2013 was delayed because of the partial government shutdown that occurred from October 1 to October 16. Only three of the approximately 2,400 BLS employees worked full time during the shutdown. BLS staff were back on the job October 17, and we released the September Employment Situation the morning of Tuesday, October 22. Read my statement about the report.

The government shutdown affected data collection, analysis, and dissemination activities for all the other BLS surveys and programs as well, so we recently updated the schedule for news releases planned for the remainder of 2013.

Just before the shutdown began, BLS released a new group of webpages for our younger customers and their teachers and parents. The new BLS K-12 pages provide classroom activities, games, quizzes, and more to make learning economics and statistics fun. The pages also provide information to help students learn more about career options. New material will be added to these pages regularly.