How Common Is Child Labor in the U.S.?

Source: Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, December 15, 2014

Budgets for agencies that monitor workplaces are shrinking as some states roll back laws meant to limit the hours and jobs kids can work. …. OSHA had fewer health and safety inspectors in 2011 than in 1981, even though there are twice as many workplaces. ….. The child-labor violations the agency has turned up in the last few years, despite its smaller budget, raise the question of what else is happening that the agency hasn’t uncovered. Last year, inspectors found that a Tennessee lumber mill was employing a 14-year-old who was operating a chainsaw, removing lumber from a conveyor, and loading scrap wood into a wood chipper. Inspectors also found that grocery stores in Iowa and Nebraska had employed young workers operating meat slicers, bakery machines, and even motor vehicles. Some of the rollback of investigations stems from concerns at a state level that government regulation is hampering business…..