Lawmakers in 11 states are seeking to weaken restrictions on child labor

City says 7,000 summer jobs are available for Boston youth ages 14 to 18

Pedestrians Walk Past A Sign Inviting People To Apply For Work At A Store In The Trendy Newbury Street Neighborhood Of Boston, On July 5, 2024. As The Us Economy Returns Unexpectedly Quickly From A Pandemic Recession And Customers Are In High Demand, More And More High School-Age Kids Are Filling The Jobs Being Filled. Older Workers Can'T - Or Don'T.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — In the past two years, lawmakers in at least 11 states have sought to ease child labor laws to help employers fill job openings, even as federal officials and news investigations indicate that many minors work in manufacturing, meatpacking, and construction jobs. being exploited or abused.

The unemployment rate is 3.5% — a level it last reached in 1969 — and businesses of all kinds, from factories to restaurants to retail stores, are struggling to find workers.

Some state lawmakers, most of them Republicans, see teens as a partial solution. They also argue that relaxing the rules will prompt more teens to seek valuable work experiences and make it easier for them to supplement their family’s income.