Carl's Jr CEO Explains Why Nobody Is Hiring Young People

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Andrew Pudzer, CEO of CKE Restaurants which includes Carl's Jr, and originally posted at The Wall Street Journal

In President Obama's speeches this year, a steady theme has been creating jobs and economic opportunity for Americans. In his State of the Union address in January he said that "what I believe unites the people of this nation . . . is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all—the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead." And in his weekly address on Saturday, he repeated his strong appeal to young people: "As long as I hold this office, I'll keep fighting to give more young people the chance to earn their own piece of the American Dream."

Yet during the more than five years Mr. Obama has been in office, young people have been especially hard-hit by the slow and virtually jobless recovery. Given the destructive effect this has on individual initiative and the prospects of a productive and rewarding working life, the continuing struggle of young Americans to find jobs, start building families and contribute to society is no longer simply a matter of politics or policy. On a deeply human level, it's profoundly sad.

Consider these grim employment numbers:

• In February the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded the lowest percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds working or actively looking for work (32.9%) since the bureau started tracking the data in 1948. The BLS recorded the second-lowest labor-participation rate for this group in April (33.2%) and the third-lowest in January (33.3%). May's rate was the sixth lowest (33.8%).


• Over the past two years, the BLS has recorded some of the worst labor participation rates for 20- to 24-year-olds since 1973, when the Vietnam War was beginning to wind down. In August 2012, the 69.7% rate was the lowest since '73. The second-lowest (70%) came in March last year. This year, the third-lowest rate came in April (70.2%). May's rate was a still-miserable 71%.


• Looking at the seasonally unadjusted data—which is what the BLS makes publicly available—for 25- to 29-year-olds, the April 2014 labor-participation rate was the lowest the BLS has recorded since it started tracking the data in 1982 (79.8%). May's rate was the second-lowest (79.9%). January, February and March tied with the fourth-lowest (80.3%).

These disturbing numbers raise a simple question: Where are the entry-level jobs?

Five years of 2% average yearly GDP growth simply doesn't produce enough jobs to absorb the natural increase in the labor force, and over the past eight quarters GDP growth has averaged only 1.7%. Between May 2008 and May 2014, BLS data show that the employable population increased by 14,217,000 while the number of people employed actually decreased by 94,000 and the number of people unemployed increased by 1,404,000. It remains a bad time for young people to be looking for jobs.

Nonetheless, various states and municipalities have increased their minimum wage, thereby increasing the cost of employing inexperienced workers. Minimum-wage jobs have always been a gateway to better opportunities. In making hiring decisions, businesses must weigh the quality and value of work that entry-level employees produce against the cost of employing them. For many businesses in high-minimum-wage states or municipalities—Seattle leads the list, having approved a move to a $15 minimum wage—that trade-off is no longer working.

The bottom line on labor: Make something less expensive and businesses will use more of it. Make something more expensive and businesses will use less of it. The Congressional Budget Office has forecast a loss of 500,000 jobs should the president's proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour become law.

The CBO also forecast that this increase would lift a number of people who already have jobs above the poverty threshold. For 500,000 unemployed people, however, that's 500,000 opportunities American businesses will never create.

ObamaCare is also increasing the cost of hiring inexperienced workers. The health-care law requires that businesses with more than 50 full-time employees offer medical insurance to employees working 30 or more hours a week. The administration knows that the employer mandate will kill jobs and has twice delayed implementing it. With an election on the horizon, American businesses know that these delays were political and that the mandate's economically damaging impact is in the pipeline, coming their way.

ObamaCare gives businesses an incentive to either eliminate entry-level jobs or keep the workers' hours to under 30 a week. It also gives businesses a reason to reduce the hours of experienced employees to under 30 a week. These experienced employees are now working second jobs to compensate for their lost hours—resulting in fewer positions for less-experienced workers.

To get on the ladder of opportunity, America's young people need jobs. Creating disincentives to hire them diminishes the notion that "if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead." The reality is that you can't get ahead if you can't find a job.

I'm not speaking primarily as a business CEO. My company will adjust to new laws. I'm speaking as someone from a working-class family. I started work scooping ice cream for the minimum wage at Baskin-Robbins. To put myself through college and law school while supporting my family, I cut lawns, painted houses and busted concrete with a jackhammer. I know how important these jobs are. For one thing, they taught me—as no lectures from my parents ever could—that I needed a good education so I wouldn't have to settle for low-paying work the rest of my life. Too many young people today are being deprived of even that basic lesson.

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CH1's picture

Here's a guy with actual experience. His only error is imagining that politicians give a shit about it.

Spastica Rex's picture

We need more guys like him.

Better lower his pay.

Publicus's picture

A rising tide lifts all boats. Raise the minimun wage.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Yes, fuck those 500,000 people who will either lose or not get a job. 

I've met Pudzer IRL.  Nice dude.  Has a banging Aston Martin Vantage. 

Occident Mortal's picture

What does the birth rate in the US look like in light of all these broke young people?

pods's picture

Simply put, a raise in the minimum wage is a pay cut for everyone above it.


Headbanger's picture

The Lib-tards will keep fucking things up  to stay in power by making more voters dependent on their social programs.

americanreality's picture

Whenever I see "libtards" or "republican't" I immediatly disregard the comment and assume that the poster is either hired to foster division between the citizens or he is too dense to see through the two party scam.  Where do you fall?  

Headbanger's picture

I fall in the "fuck you with a rake you pompous asshole" category.

And if you disregarded my comment then why the fuck did you ask me for an answer.

Unless of course you're a real douche ball neo-intellectual BMW driving cunt.

And I bet you even have an aluminum receiver rifle.

DaveyJones's picture

Carl's Jr. CEO explains why nobody cares about young people and why we are handing them this pile of shit called the future.

0b1knob's picture

Young people today.  This is are (sic) story.

And wearing hoodies all the time.  Those are scary.  You never know what's underneath them.


Anusocracy's picture

A large part of the problem is the treating of young "adults" as children.

Twenty-somethings are the new children.

Skateboarder's picture

Thirty-something are the new children coming up pretty shortly. You do realize that you will for the first time, see the first generation that played Pokemon (of which many members still do play Pokemon) is just getting out of med school. Welcome, my friend, to state-owned video game doctors.

Does Mr. CEO-of-Carl's-Jr eat... Carl's Jr.?

ebworthen's picture

What "ladder of opportunity" is he talking about?

Working at the FED or Goldman Sachs?

How many of those jobs are there?

Keyser's picture

All part of the master plan folks. The destruction of the scoio-economic balance to dis-infranchise an entire generation to the idea of capitalism. Couple this with the push to change the demographics of the US, accelerating to a latino society, effectively killing the prior paradigm built on northern european values... This is long game long game to destroy the US...

James_Cole's picture

The reality is that you can't get ahead if you can't find a job.

>These days, according to the National Employment Law Project, the average age of fast-food workers is 29< 

This guy writes some fun propaganda, but reality is something else. 

The kids are fine, if they never have to work at a shitfest like carl's jr, all the better. 

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Yeah, you're right. Let's start 'em out as CEOs. Better yet, let's outlaw all "shitty" jobs. Because "nobody wants to do them"...right?

James_Cole's picture

Yeah, you're right. Let's start 'em out as CEOs. Better yet, let's outlaw all "shitty" jobs.

OP presents a strawman argument in the WSJ and you add another one.

I think I said something about avg age of fast food workers being 29...

You do present an interesting philosophical argument in your strawman though, what benefit do these shit companies with their shit jobs (not to mention shit products) actually bring to the economy?

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Do you think these giant corporations just sprang up out of the ground, randomly, and fully formed?

They got that big because hundreds of millions of people decided that they would benefit by purchasing their goods and/or services.

Maybe you don't want to eat at Carl's Jr. An awful lot of people do. Consequently, the jobs they create are-- by definition-- in demand.

James_Cole's picture


You make a brilliant counterpoint, the 'lots of people do it therefore it's beneficial' playbook.

Lots of people abuse prescription drugs, lots of people are morbidly obese, lots of people love using cocaine etc. etc. And consequently the jobs they create are-- by definition-- in demand.

They got that big because hundreds of millions of people decided that they would benefit by purchasing their goods and/or services.

If by benefit you mean became addicted to sugary fat engineered in labs, yes you are correct. Much like many people benefitted by choosing to purchase products from the tobacco cartel for many decades. 


Don't get me wrong, if people want to balloon their bodies eating garbage whilst injecting heroin all day (as long as it's not around me) I could care less. I would simply question the merits & sustainability of an economy centred around such products. 



captain_menace's picture

Minor point; you couldn't care less.


I assume.


Humans make f*cked up consumption decisions all the time.  Isn't a free market great?  You can decide for yourself how you want to abuse yourself and allocate your own resources.

SeekingNuNormal's picture

But of course the obvious issue is that the healthy people wind of paying for the unhealthy people in our current healthcare system. If obese people had to bear the full brunt of their lifestyle decisions, then let it rain McFatBurgers for all I care.

sonoftx's picture

Did you read the article? Why is the avg. age 29?; because he is not hiring young people. My worst shit job was working in a mall selling shoes. Do away with that shit company with that shitty job and if I have to work that pos job then you should have to pay me at least double. I also hauled quite a bit of hay, hey tell that farmer he can't pay me minimum wage for doing this pos job and he is just a greedy capitalist taking advantage of a "brilliant" 17 yo kid. And the summer I spent digging forms getting paid min wage was the summer I decided that knowledge was power and thought about what knowledge I wanted to gain. I personally know two people who have worked in fast food for 15- 20 yrs(one recently went to work for 7-11) but they both enjoyed their jobs as much ore more than many professionals I know. It's a matter of perspective, expectations, IQ, desires. I also have a sister and brother in law who recent sold a franchised fast food restaurant and yes let's give all of those pot smoking, alcoholic, warrants out, going to jail, xbox playing Mensa members 10-12 dollar an hour raise.

James_Cole's picture

 Why is the avg. age 29?; because he is not hiring young people.

Avg. has been creeping up for decades and reached mid 20s years ago, author is trying to connect it to 'disincentives' like higher minimum wage + obama care, bunch of bs.

I also hauled quite a bit of hay, hey tell that farmer he can't pay me minimum wage for doing this pos job and he is just a greedy capitalist taking advantage of a "brilliant" 17 yo kid. 

Farmer had you employed on payroll? I doubt it. 

the summer I spent digging forms getting paid min wage was the summer I decided that knowledge was power and thought about what knowledge I wanted to gain.

I gave no indication I am against entry level work or crappy jobs for kids. I worked crappy jobs in my teens, the main lesson I gleaned from these experiences is there are people stuck in such jobs being paid horrendously and treated like subhumans by dumbass piece-of-shit bosses and I am extraordinarily lucky to have been born well enough to not have to endure that life. 

The funny thing is this guy talks about learning the value of a higher education and then explains how he paid his way through law school working low wage summer jobs. 

Most of the people working low wage jobs in their late 20s+ are not ignorant of the value of attending harvard law. Gawdamn, if only I'd realized the value of an education!!

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

The sad thing is Davy, as a parent I care very much for my kids. My daughter's first job at 16 was selling concessions at Sea World during the shows. Grueling work lugging drinks up the stairs and barking the crowds. She was the only white girl doing it and, yes, we got a few calls how she wanted to quit. My husband told her during one tearful call " Dry your eyes and get the fuck back to work now!"

After calculating her expenses we did realize she only made about 1.50/hr but the experience was invaluable. At the end of that job she was the highest seller in the park. She is now doing very well at 24 and is well respected by her employers. She was hired before she had completed college.

The truth of the matter is experience and strong initiative trump education most of the time. People are assuming the opposite and their children are suffering. The problem is if children are allowed to be lazy or not ever be challenged they find it hard to muster any effort when necessary to get ahead. These kids got a trophy for just showing up.


logicalman's picture

Both my kids are intelligent, hard working and talented. That's not my personal bias talking, either.

Both had good enough marks for uni, but decided against it.

My son just finished chef's college top of the class by a long way and he was the youngest in the program. Worked his arse off for to fund it.

My daughter started working for a fund-raising company out in all weathers (Canada) getting results that were 2 - 3 times higher than expected. She got two promotions in 3 months and now trains people. She's quite the painter too.

Neither have any debt.

I think they'll do OK.



DaveyJones's picture

I know

Most of the people on this site seem to actually give a shit about things beyond the available colors in the 2015 Escalade 

Maybe it's my damn judeo-christian upbringing (fucking nuns) but I feel kinda guilty handing my kids this chemically imbalanced, overmedicated, polluted, debt-slaved future and then topping their cake by telling them it's gonna be great.

When they figure out the gravity of these lies and the damage that goes with it, they're gonna be pissed  

HellFish's picture

They very strongly and clearly voted for it, twice.  Enjoy!

Lord Koos's picture

What this country really needs is a general strike of all unskilled laborers.  That might shut these rich pricks up for awhile.

WorkingFool's picture

Actually what this country needs is a strike by the producers - the people who sacrificed, innvoated, took risk and worked exceptionally hard to build the wealth that you think your entitled to.  Asshole.

chubbyjjfong's picture

"Actually what this country needs is a strike by the elites - the people who manipulated, stupified, took advantage of and worked exceptionally corruptly to build the wealth that you think your entitled to.  Asshole."  Fixed it for ya.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Hey now, 

Clarkson already decided that cocks drive Audis now.  You are either thinking of them, or Prius drivers. 

tarsubil's picture

You seem upset as of late.

greatbeard's picture

>> "libtards" or "republican't"

I do pretty much the same thing,  I've found I get very little out of conversing with people on a six year old level. 

maskone909's picture



whatever, i am politically a-sexual

greatbeard's picture

I'm apolitical also, I just prefer intelligent discourse to the normal school yard non-sense.  The libtard/repubicunt thing plays right into the red/blue game, much as the participants claim to be above it all. 

SeattleBruce's picture

"Whenever I see "libtards" or "republican't" I immediatly disregard the comment and assume that the poster is either hired to foster division between the citizens or he is too dense to see through the two party scam. Where do you fall?"

Just because there's not a dime's worth of difference between the establishment in either party (they are the same captured politician - bought and paid for, lock stock and barrel), doesn't mean we can't complain about one party or the other from time to time, nor point out rife hypocrisy when so inclined.

bpj's picture

The "Lib-tards" are a lot more clever than you think. By letting the border be overwhelmed with kids they have to hire a lot of government puke to see that bulge go through the snake. More cops, social workers, teachers, DMV employees, interpreters, DARE programs, DDAs, public defenders, judges, clerks,  workers' comp boards, etc.

Raymond K Hessel's picture

I agree.  Instead of 'libtards' we should start calling them 'evil geniustards' or 'brilliantberals' 

dontgoforit's picture

Call 'em what you want, but you can't get a train to move if everyone is putting the fuel in the caboose.  This administration has everything bass-ackwards and is either purposefully trying to ruin America or is so clueless they could do a sit-com.  He's effing us up big time - yeah, obummer....prick.

James-Morrison's picture

I prefer the Dr. Seuss terms.

Thing1 and Thing2.

Take your pick which Party you assign them to.

It really doesn't make a difference.

SeattleBruce's picture

At least there's an operational establishment challenging fringe in the R party (tea party).  I don't see an effective establishment challenge in the D party, since Occupy kind of faded off..

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Let's be clear, there are two types in play: type 1 are the sick, venal, envious fucktards who are genetically incapable of producing anything of value but are slimy and psychopathic enough to achieve power "by any means necessary."

The other type are the fucking retards who are the "useful idiots". Those are the classic Libtards. Because they are retarded tools.


Tegrat's picture

Profound post. Mostly cause I agree and deal with the #2 daily.


Pairadimes's picture

What an increase in the minimum wage primarily does is destroy jobs that cannot create the value stipulated by the new minimum. This effectively outlaws any labor that is not worth the new minimum. There is plenty of demand for this less valuable labor - just look around at the burgeoning cash economy that employs illegals and others at under-the-table rates well below the minimum wage. Which means that the other thing minimum wage laws do is make outlaws out of unskilled laborers just trying to make whatever they can. With a single law, government can create a whole new cohort of broke criminals while stoking the embers of illegal immigration. Remarkable.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Unless the Asshat makes a salary (including fake performance plan) in the 20% of all CEOs he is not to be listened to

Raymond K Hessel's picture

Outlawing jobs exactly denotes what the minimum wage law does to people who will end up working off the books.  It creates a black market where participants can't participate in the benefits under the protection of law.

cro_maat's picture

It also gives incentives for companies to move their labor offshore.

This is all part of the Globalist plan to further ratchet the US into 3rd world status. Every economic initiative that our puppet leader announces is designed to dismantle our economy but he will state that he is fighting for our economic rights and that the economy will now thrive. When historians are no longer brainwashed there will be a chapter detailing the grisly exploits of Obama the Destroyer.