Students grapple with grueling economy

COLBY QUALLS – Hoof Prints Staff

For the past few years, our nation’s economy has been steadily declining.  If a person would simply flip through channels on his television, he would hear many programs discussing our nation’s unfortunate predicament.  The media has been covering the effects of this recession with businesses, average citizens, those who are more prominent, and those who are struggling.  It seems that they have not really focused enough on how the future generations of America are affected.

Many teenagers acquire a part-time job for a variety of reasons.  With our failing economy, it has created changes for some in their jobs.  Justin Avant is not an exception to this change.  He has been a faithful employee of three years as a farm hand for Deb Whited.  During this period of time, he has seen a steady increase in price of supplies such as seeds.  This has created a sense of worry that has been plaguing him ever since.  He continued with saying, “the only price that has really decreased recently is fuel.”

He expressed thankfulness for that change but was unsatisfied that it was the only decrease in price.  Another problem that has caught his attention is the amount of work.  “It has fallen behind; not a lot of work is becoming available,” he said.

His immediate fears were the possibility of a decrease in pay and, in an extreme case, selling fields.  Even with these problems and set-backs, he still wasn’t worried about losing his job.  “She (his employer) hasn’t failed me yet,” he frankly stated with a smile.

Other teenagers deal with those who directly experience this tight squeeze.  Ashley Sims is a bank teller at a Heritage Bank and is able to observe the changes.  “This is far from good,” she said.  “It’s sad to see so many people lose their job.”  Sims only works on Saturdays but confirms that there are considerably less deposits.  Even though she observes these losses, she still has faith in our government.  “The government will get involved and will do its best to bail us out of this mess,” she stated.

She continued to say that it’s an obligation of the government considering it was their “slip-up.”  “Interest rates have decreased majorly,” she pointed out.  Her whole outlook was hopeful and confident.

Those searching for a job aren’t quite as content.  John Hudson is a student that has been on an eager job hunt for a while.  His reasons for a job are the fact that he is turning 18 and that he wishes to aid his guardians in this time of crisis.  Since the decline of the economy, his preferences of a job have took a material change.  “Nothing in particular,” he stated.  He continued with saying, “the job hunt hasn’t been successful.  I have noticed other places aren’t hiring as many because of failing businesses.”

His disappointment also included the changing conditions of the available jobs.  He has found them less appealing by the day.  “Pay will will be lessened, hours will increase, etc.” he moaned.  Luckily, he has been saving his money.

These times have limited his “spending” cash and the ability to entertain himself.  “Right now, we aren’t close to the Great Depression but by the looks of it, we are on our way,” he quoted.  He knows that he can’t ask for more jobs when there is less money available.  He did have one last hope though.  Like the majority of this year’s youth, Hudson rests his trust on our newly elected president, Barack Obama.  Statistics show that 66 percent of youth supported him during the election.

“I believe Obama will actively create better conditions,” he said.  “I hope Obama will keep his promises and continue creating bridges.”

Through these trying times, teenagers are losing their jobs and are having to change their lifestyles.  Many of the students lay their hopes on our nation’s new administration while others have almost given up hope completely.  The common concensus is that a teenager’s perspective of life has been altered.