We all know the labor market is tough out there, but some McDonald's franchises in Kentucky are in hot water for hiring kids, some unpaid, to make up the difference.
Believe it or not, companies are still having trouble filling positions. Even with all the layoffs happening around the country, the job market still added 253,000 jobs in April instead of losing jobs.
But the participation rate of eligible workers didn't moved from a 62.6% rate, almost an entire percentage point below where Trump had it pre-Covid, and still significantly below the booming economy of George W. Bush before 2008, when it was as high as 66%.
Which means those new jobs were just people moving from job to job — possibly the people getting laid off getting scooped by competitors.
However, a big chunk of the labor force that disappeared in 2008 and never came back were teens between the ages of 16-19, working minimum wage jobs like flipping burgers at McDonalds.
Now, there are a variety of reasons suggested for teens not working in those jobs:
Fewer low-skill, entry-level jobs, such as sales clerks or office assistants, than in decades past; more schools ending later in June and/or restarting before Labor Day; more students enrolled in high school or college over the summer; more teens doing volunteer community service as part of their graduation requirements or to burnish their college applications; and more students taking unpaid internships, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not count as employment.
But at least in 62 McDonald's stores in Kentucky operated by Bauer Food LLC, Archways Richwood LLC, and Bell Restaurant Group I LLC, it might be because they found cheaper illegal labor in the form of children as young as 10 years old who weren't legally allowed to work.
The children were reportedly operating deep fryers, some without pay, working as late as 2:00 AM in the morning.
I'm sure those kids were having a rough time in school the next day.
Bauer Food LLC said they were unaware of the children in their stores and that they must have belonged to employees.
The US Department of Labor wasn't having it and fined the three LLCs a total of $212,544, or roughly $3,114 per store.
I'm sure that will stop the problem.