Jessica Hill/AP

Teens Competing With Adult Workers for Summer Jobs

June 09, 2009 06:27 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
This summer, with seasonal jobs melting away, new college graduates, laid-off professionals and high schoolers are vying for the same few spots.

Stiff Competition

The employment situation for American teenagers was already tough last year, when just 32.7 percent of teens ages 16-19 had summer jobs. But that rate is expected to fall to around 30 percent this summer, according to McClatchy Newspapers. As summertime employers now have the opportunity to "pick from an abundance of laid-off and older workers," teenagers will be forced to tackle the most dire summer job market in more than 60 years.

Although older workers possess a certain "reliability and hunger" that teens often lack, younger workers could be aided by $1.2 billion in stimulus funding for "youth job programs," McClatchy reported. The funds will be allocated to low-income teens seeking summer employment, but experts say even with the stimulus, the seasonal employment rate will only increase by about 1 percent.

According to The Tennessean, teen participants in the stimulus fund's eight-week employment program in Tennessee will earn between $7.25 and $10 per hour. The jobs are open to low-income residents between the ages of 14 and 24, and most will be offered in government offices and state parks. "Some private employers with established internship programs also may take part," The Tennessean reported.
College students who are home for the summer also pose a significant threat to high school students' employment possibilities, reports The Washington Times. Many are making early efforts to secure their jobs from last summer, according to newspaper.

Dominique Escalera, a 17-year-old enrolled at Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, Va., told The Washington Times that she has filled out many applications, but has not "really gotten any responses."

Qwidget is loading...

Background: Not a new problem?

In March 2007, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania reported that the teen unemployment rate had "hit historic highs" in the previous three years, despite the solid economy. "It's a baffling problem," Ken Smith, president and CEO of the nonprofit organization Jobs for America's Graduates, told the Wharton School. Although adults often lament that teens are lazy, Andrew Sum, the director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, told the Wharton School that laziness was not necessarily the issue.

"When you ask teens if they want to work, a large number of kids say they simply can't find a job," he said.

Related Topic: Tips for teens

The Courier News offers tips for job-seeking teens, courtesy of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based outplacement firm. For example, "Cast a wide net that includes looking beyond the local mall." To do so, take advantage of "social and professional networking sites" and make an effort "to meet with hiring managers face to face." And if you can't find a job, the firm suggests volunteering to "help others while gaining on-the-job experience."

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines