Missouri employers have seemingly turned to younger workers to fill employment gaps.
And the state is finding more child labor law violations.
More than 3,100 Missouri teenagers ages 14 and 15 joined the workforce in 2022. It's a 45 percent increase from 2021, according to data from the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The number of youth work permits jumped from 6,997 to 10,152.
The same year-to-year comparison shows an increase of more than 250 percent in the number of youth employment complaints, which grew from 19 in 2021 to 67 in 2022.
It's "a concerning increase," the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said in a news release.