Only 26 percent of teenagers ages 16 to 19 had a job in 2011, according to a Brookings Institution study. That's down from 45 percent back in 2000.
Researchers found 61 percent of 20 to 24-year-olds were employed in 2011 compared to 72 percent in 2000.
The study blames the trends partly on the education system.
The report's co-author says high schools should better prepare students for college coursework, and other forms of job training need to be made available.
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