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Teen Summer Job Outlook

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Teenagers seeking employment this summer are in luck: Due to the gradual improvement of the national job market, there should be less competition from older, more experienced job hunters, according to an article by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Last year, teen employment gains during the summer months improved drastically after falling in 2010. The 960,000 teens hired in the summer of that year marked the lowest level of seasonal hiring since 1949. Currently, teen employment rates have continued to increase. “The teen job market definitely rebounded in 2011, with more than 1,000,000 teens finding new jobs,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Challenger also added that the traditional sectors that typically employed teens (i.e. parks, camps, and beaches) had gone through a period during the recession when they were hiring a diverse array of applicants, including college-educated 20-year-olds. Now that the job market is improving, the total number of applicants for these positions is starting to dwindle, thus easing the competition for teenagers.

“We are probably still several years away from teen summer hiring returning to pre-recession levels. Teenagers hoping to find employment this summer definitely want to start their searches now, if they have not already done so,” said Challenger.

On an interesting side note though, a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that many teenagers are opting out of summer employment. In 2011, the number of 16- to 19-year-olds not participating in the labor force (meaning they were neither employed nor actively seeking employment) was around 11,048,000. This reflects a growing trend amongst teenagers, who are choosing to spend their summers volunteering, playing sports, or focusing on their studies instead of pursuing employment.

“However, even with more teenagers dropping out of the labor force, competition will remain fierce,” added Challenger.