JEFFERSON CITY — Many employers are having a tough time filling jobs. The Missouri Department of Labor is seeing an increase in workers between the ages of 14 to 18. They say these workers are helping fill the gap left by adults.

The number of work certifications for 14 and 15-year-olds increase by 45 percent from 2021 to 2022. During that same time period that saw the number of complaints related to youth employment increase by 250 percent.

“The Division emphasizes ensuring our youth have a safe working environment,” states Todd Smith, division director. “Fortunately, we haven’t experienced an associated rise in workplace injuries. However, over 2,200 injuries to workers aged 14 to 18 were serious enough that they were required to be reported to our Division of Workers’ Compensation.”

Missouri has many state laws around hiring young people. There are additional rules regarding the employment of people ages 14 and 15. They are limited to working certain jobs and times of day.

A parent, guardian employer, or school administer must also have a work permit for the student. Employers breaking teen labor laws should be reported to the Division of Labor Standards. To report an issue call (573) 751-3403 or email