Traveling youth crews top 2010 Five Worst Jobs list – National Consumers League

May 17, 2010

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WASHINGTON, DC –Many teenagers around the country are about to begin the search for that elusive summer job. With economic times and a teen unemployment rate nearing 30 percent, the National Consumers League (NCL) fears that teens may be tempted to take jobs that may endanger their health. In its new report, the Five Worst Teen Jobs of 2010, NCL warns teens and parents which jobs are best avoided. Based on statistics from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a teen American worker dies from a workplace injury every eleven days, and nearly 150,000 youth sustain work-related injuries and illnesses each year—that’s more than 400 injured teen workers per day.

The National Consumers League (NCL), which coordinates the Child Labor Coalition, has issued this year’s Five Worst Teen Jobs report to remind teens and parents to think about hidden dangers that many jobs hold. “Some jobs—construction, for example—have obvious dangers, while others like retail may pose hidden dangers when teens are asked to work alone at night and may be vulnerable to robberies and assaults,” said Reid Maki, NCL’s Director for Social Responsibility and Coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition. “It’s absolutely critical that parents talk with their kids about possible work dangers and empower them to ask their supervisors questions about their safety at work.”

In 2008—the last year for which there are complete records—an estimated 2.3 million adolescents aged 16 to 17 years worked in the United States, and that figure does not include hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers who work at ages younger than 16 because of loopholes in our child labor laws.

“Each year, the National Consumers League issues our Five Worst Teen Jobs report to remind teens and their parents to choose summer jobs wisely,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director and co-chair of the NCL-coordinated Child Labor Coalition. “Summer jobs play an important role in a child’s development and maturity and teach young workers new skills and responsibilities, but parents and teens should carefully consider the safety of each job. Even good-intentioned employers and federal child labor laws do not always protect young workers from dangerous tasks.”

NCL’s Five Worst Teen Jobs of 2010 (read full report)

  1. Traveling Youth Sales Crews
  1. Construction and Height Work
  1. Outside Helper: Landscaping, Grounds Keeping and Lawn Service
  1. Agriculture: Harvesting Crops
  1. Driver/Operator: Forklifts, Tractors, and ATV’s

NCL compiles the Five Worst Teen Jobs each year using government statistics and reports, including monitoring reports from state labor officials and news accounts of injuries and deaths. Statistics and examples of injuries for each job on the list are detailed in a report available here.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit