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Interns: Bad for the Economy? [AUDIO]

Those still looking for employment are faced with an obstacle: the number of people willing to take on an unpaid internship, in hopes of gaining experience and landing a real position, is continuing to grow.

In the mind of some analysts, unpaid and minimally-paid interns are taking salaried positions away from those who desperately need them.

interns
Flickr User Yodal Anecdotal

“When you have interns who are answering phones, that’s a job,” said Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute. “There are hundreds of thousands of people in the economy whose job is to be a receptionist and answer phones.”

In essence, the nearly two million interns nationwide may be acting as roadblocks to an economic recovery. Young, unpaid interns are struggling to make ends meet or pay off their college loan debts, while someone else who could be in that position isn’t earning a paycheck and isn’t fully contributing to the nation’s economy.

“It’s not that great for employers either, because they’re cutting themselves out of a more diverse, entry level-workforce than they’re getting from this unpaid pipeline,” Eisenbrey said.

Internships have long been criticized as a chance to hire someone to work for free, as opposed to a truly educational experience.

A recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found unpaid internships led to real employment 37 percent of the time; a full-time job was secured 63 percent of times when interns were paid for their work.

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