Question: What Are The Summer Job Prospects for Teens?

Jun 15, 2017
Employment, Research, Current Events, Audio Resource, Article

Answer: According to Marketplace, prospects are GOOD!

From Marketplace:

The U.S. unemployment rate stands at 4.3 percent, and the tight labor market is giving a bump to young people’s job prospects for the summer. Unemployment among 16- to 19-year-olds fell to 14.3 percent in May — its second-lowest reading since 2006 (it dipped to 13.7 percent in March). Teen unemployment hit a previous low of 12.3 percent in June 2000.

But even as the job situation improves, fewer young people are seeking work than in previous decades. And it is getting harder for teens to find the entry-level retail jobs that used to be a staple of summer employment.

Despite this improvement, looking at the longer arc of history, you see that a much lower percentage of teens work during the summer compared to 40 years ago (for the record, I spent 8 summers caddying at a local country club in the 80s):

In the 1970s, more than half of 16- to 19-year-olds were working or looking for work (labor-force participation peaked in 1978 at 58.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Today that percentage has fallen below 35 percent, in part because more young people are doing unpaid internships and studying during the summer. 

This  might seem timely for those of you still in school to have a discussion about summer jobs:

  • What are your plans for the summer?
  • For those working…
    • How did you get your job?
    • What do you hope to learn?
    • What do you think is important to succeed in this role?
    • What percentage of your paycheck are you hoping to save?
    • What do you think is valuable about work experience?
  • For those not working…
    • What are your plans for the summer?
    • Did you look for a job? If so, how did the process go?
    • What were the hurdles to finding a job in the area?
    • Do you plan to work in future years?



For those still looking for a job, it’s not too late! Check out NGPF’s Research Activity: Finding Job Openings

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.