June 26, 2012
Summer employment for teens has improved this year, but many say that finding such opportunities can still be difficult.
Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that summer hiring for teens is the strongest it has been since 2006, based on an analysis of Labor Department figures by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. In May, 157,000 16- to 19-year-olds were hired -- more than double the 71,000 teens that were hired in May 2011. The growth over two years was even more dramatic: In May 2010, just 6,000 teens were hired.
Courtney Moyer, a spokeswoman for Snagajob who was quoted by Life Inc., confirmed that recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that temporary summer job opportunities indeed exist. She pointed out that "clothing stores, food and beverage stores and restaurants all had gains. Government numbers also showed that 4.39 million teens ages 16 to 19 were employed in May (seasonally adjusted), which is an improvement over last year's 4.26 million, a 3 percent increase."
Nevertheless, Moyer said, young people should expect to submit about 25 applications in order to successfully land a summer job. She suggested considering areas such as retail, restaurants, leisure/arts and entertainment.
Bill Thoennes, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, agreed that the job market for teens appears to be improving.
"We've been able to link more teens with jobs so far than we did last year," he told The Denver Post. "It's still pretty tough out there, especially for teens looking for their first summer job. But all the indications are that things are looking up this year."
Even so, finding summer employment can be extremely difficult. Reuters reported that government programs, which created summer jobs for teens in the past, have been slashed. In Los Angeles, for example, federal stimulus money helped to create about 15,000 summer jobs for teens in 2009 and 2010. But by 2011, that number was cut to about 6,000, and will not increase this year. Similarly, New York City had 52,000 summer job opportunities for teens in 2009; this year, the program is half that size. And in Philadelphia, there will be 5,600 jobs for teens this summer, compared with 11,180 in 2010.
Moreover, according to the Associated Press, Challenger, Gray & Christmas acknowledged that a growing number of teenagers are giving up on finding summer jobs. For example, the number of teens hired last month was still about 21,000 below the average of the five years before the 2007 start of the Great Recession.
Compiled by Yaffa Klugerman
"Colorado Teen Job Prospects May Improve This Summer," denverpost.com, June 4, 2012, Joey Kirchmer
"Sad summer in the city seen for job-hunting teens." reuters.com, June 16, 2012, Joan Gralla
"Summer Help-Wanted Signs Are Still Up," lifeinc.today.msnbc.msn.com, June 26, 2012, Eve Tahmincioglu
"Teen Employment for Summer Up Sharply from 2011," google.com, June 4, 2012, Associated Press