Florida is tied with California for having the worst record of employing teens: Only 18 percent have jobs, according to a new study released Monday.
"At this rate, a generation will grow up with little early work experience, missing the chance to build knowledge and job-readiness skills that come from holding part-time and starter jobs," the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported in its new study.
In comparison, oil-rich North Dakota has more than double the rate of 16- to 19-year-olds working -- 46 percent, the foundation found.
Overall, the U.S. average for teens in the workforce is a lackluster 26 percent, compared to nearly half employed in 2000, according to the new report.
Researchers at the foundation blamed the high youth unemployment on the Great Recession, with displaced older workers grabbing entry level jobs that teens would have gotten just a decade ago.
Both Florida and California have been among the hardest hit in the nation by the economic downturn and the slow recovery.
"This waste of talent and earnings potential has profound consequences for these young people, and for our economy and our nation," the report warned. "When young people lack connections to jobs and school, government spends more to support them."