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Far fewer teens are in the workforce than they were years ago, with the U.S. Department of Labor reporting that almost 60 percent of teens ages 16 to 19 were employed in 1998 compared to 34 percent in 2018.

When asked about the phenomenon by host Stuart Varney on Fox Business’ “Varney & Co.” on Wednesday, Tamra Kennedy, who operates several Taco John’s restaurants in the Midwest attributed it to several factors. Kennedy contended that some teens do not seek employment due to a lack of transportation and a reluctance to obtain a driver’s license. Other teens, or their parents, might view themselves as too affluent to work in the fast food industry.

“We worked hard as a generation to earn the things that we have and we want to pass that on to the next generation,” Kennedy said.

Whatever the reasons, Kennedy said that she is challenged to find teenagers to fill jobs at her fast-food franchises, and placed the blame, in part, on the fast-food industry.

“We have a PR problem in fast food,” she said. “We need to up our game and do a better job talking about why taking a job in a restaurant is a good idea.”

Varney responded, “No, you’ve got to put out the word that work is good, earning money is good, being self-sufficient is really cool.”

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