According to BLS data, there were almost 4 million teenagers (16 to 19 year olds) working in 2011.
Q: Of those 3.936 million working teenagers in 2011, how many and what percent were earning more than the minimum wage?
A: More than 3 million (3.037 million) teenagers, and more than three out of every four (77.2%) were earning an hourly wage higher than the legally-mandated minimum wage.
Bottom Line: I think this fact runs counter the narrative about how millions of adults are struggling to work full-time and raise a family, but are stuck in jobs that pay only the minimum wage, which then justifies regular increases in the minimum wage to “help the poor.” The fact that a large majority of teenagers earn more than the minimum wage would suggest the minimum wage is mostly an entry-level wage for beginning workers with no skills. Even most teenagers can easily earn more than the minimum wage after they acquire minimal jobs skills and work habits, and can demonstrate their value to employers. If teenagers can earn more than the minimum wage, then any hardworking adult certainly can, and it must then be a false narrative that people “are stuck” for long periods of time in jobs at the minimum wage.