Summer Surprise: Teens Are Finding Jobs

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — At least one sector of the labor market looks to be improving: summer jobs for teens.

More than 1 million teenagers were hired to work during the summer months this year, an increase of 13.2% from 2010, according to an analysis of government labor data by the research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The number of 16- to 19-year-olds who were employed increased by 1,087,000 between May and July, the months when many in this age group get off from school and work part-time or full-time jobs. By comparison, in 2010 just 960,000 teenagers in this age bracket gained summer jobs, the lowest number since 1949.

A separate Challenger report released earlier this year predicted that summer hiring would remain near record lows as state and local governments would be forced to make budget cutbacks, impacting the number of available public sector jobs for teens.

The new Challenger report found that the summer job market “improved significantly” despite the firm’s previous concerns, but notes that the number of teens working summer jobs still falls short of the amount added prior to the recession, when more than 1.6 million teens were hired each summer, on average.

The report concludes more teens might have been hired had the overall labor market not tapered off in the middle of the summer due to general uncertainty about the U.S. economy, and the protracted debate around raising the debt ceiling.

“For business owners and store managers deciding whether to hire more workers in late June and early July, the growing uncertainty made the decision not to hire that much easier,” said John Challenger, the firm’s CEO.

Did you have trouble finding the right summer job this year? Check out MainStreet’s look at the professions that typically hire teens during the summer and tips from experts on how to land these positions.

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