It's a time-honored tradition--school lets out for the summer, teenagers get jobs. I had one. You had one. But that was then, and this is now. And it seems the availability of jobs for teens in the summertime is dwindling. Now, we are all aware of the bleak unemployment numbers we see crawl across our TV screens everyday. But, maybe we always thought that couldn't possibly include the "summer job." Unfortunately, now it does and kids in their late teens are facing the same issues as too many other Americans these days--they just can't find work.

I've often wondered if it has something to do with the increase in the minimum wage. I hear it from friends and family--they increase the minimum wage but not wages of other employees. In other words, entry-level workers are getting a paycheck that is increasingly closer to more seasoned employees. In my estimation--and I am certainly no expert--it would seem to me that employers would now need to hire people with a more experienced skill set than at any time in the past. And then there's the fact that due to the great number of folks out of work, those minimum wage jobs are plenty attractive to someone desperate to have a job. And these are likely older members of the workforce with that greater skill set employers are looking for. Man, is it tough all over, or what? At one time, you could just assume that kids could find jobs once school was out, and that their only competition would be each other. But this is 2011, and, nowadays, everybody just has to grow up a lot faster.