Under normal circumstances, students finishing up the school year would have their pick of internships and customer service jobs to earn some extra cash and experience during the summer months. Perhaps they'd send in a few applications online or visit the nearest mall to submit their resumes in person and soon enough they'd be working a 9-to-5 gig. But all that has changed. As bad as the job market has been for most Americans since the recession began, it has arguably been even tougher on teens, who are now forced to compete with millions of underemployed adults desperate to work any job at all, even the entry-level positions often designated for younger, less experienced workers. Fewer teens ended up with jobs during the summer of 2010 than any summer in more than 60 years, and according to one study released last month by the research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, job prospects this summer may remain grim, at least in the public sector. Budget shortfalls will likely force many state and local governments to cut back on hiring, and that means potentially fewer job openings at national parks, urban camps and government agencies, positions that often go to teens and young adults. But while public sector opportunities may be on the decline for teens, all signs point toward an increase in opportunities for private sector positions. "Private sector hiring has picked up in the past two months, which will certainly benefit teens this summer," said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, who also notes that retail spending and consumer confidence are increasing as well. Those trends should also lead to hiring increases at many of the stores that typically employ teenagers. In fact, a greater percentage of companies plan to significantly increase their summer hiring this year (by 10% or more year-over-year) than any time since the recession hit, according to a survey of hiring managers by SimplyHired.com, a job search engine. So yes, the jobs are out there, but teens will still have to work for them. Photo Credit: a loves dc

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