Child labor in the U.S. has made headlines in recent months: a labor department investigation showed about 30 minors who cleaned meatpacking plants overnight, and a bombshell New York Times story detailed child laborers across the supply chain.
Along with the anecdotes, data seems to support a trend: Over the past several years, the U.S. Department of Labor has recorded more and more cases with child labor violations.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the labor department recorded a high number of cases with child labor violations, but then the figures fell, data shows. But, between 2015 and 2022, the number of cases grew more than 50%.
In summer 2022, in response to the increase, the labor department announced it would step up its enforcement of child labor laws. This included tens of thousands of dollars in penalties.
Type of work: