May Employment Numbers For Teenagers Weakest Since 1969

-- Illustration of an unimpressed junior --It's a tradition in many households across the United States every year.

Junior finishes up their high school year and expects to live the life of luxury at home, sleeping in late and hanging out with friends.

Mom and Dad, however, usually have a slightly different idea as to how the summer will go, and it usually involves their kid finding a summer job.

If this sounds like you, and you are expecting your kid to find work this summer to help pay for their college or give them some extra spending money throughout the year, don't count on them being able to find a job.

According to employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, teen employment grew by just 6,000 in May, which was the smallest increase since 1969.

For comparison's sake, here is May employment growth for youths between the ages of 16 and 19 for the past five years:

2009 - 111,000
2008 - 116,000
2007 - 62,000
2006 - 230,000
2005 - 183,000

The 6,000 figure posted in May of 2010 looks especially puny when compared to these numbers.

So what's the problem? Why are there very few jobs available to teenagers this year?

With a national unemployment rate of 9.7%, the fact of the matter is that there are millions and millions of people competing for jobs. Jobs that have been traditionally held by teenagers in the summer months are now going to older people who are desperate to find jobs to help make ends meet. For most employers, this marked increase in the number of applicants for available jobs means that they can acquire older, more experienced workers for the same cost as an inexperienced teenaged worker. This is a no-brainer for most companies, as they will almost always go with the more experienced worker.

In addition, many college students and recent grads are also taking away these jobs. College students are finding it harder to rely on student loans and loans from their parents to help pay for their schooling costs, while recent college grads are not finding jobs available in their chosen fields, so they are forced to apply for jobs that are usually held by teenagers in the summer months.

So, let's break this down. These are all of the groups that are suddenly applying for jobs that were typically held by teenagers in the summer months:

1) People who have been unemployed for many months and are desperate for a job - any job.

2) People who are looking for a second job to help supplement their family's income (usually due to their spouse losing their job)

3) College students who need extra money because student loans and parental loans are no longer as easily attainable

4) Recent college grads who are unable to find work in their chosen fields and need some kind of an income to help pay bills

So where does this leave youth workers? In one word - unemployed. There is a reason why youth unemployment numbers continue to climb. If you owned a company and were looking to hire somebody for the summer, and had your choice of these four applicants:

a) 16 year old with no job experience
b) 24 year old college grad with some job experience
c) 35 year old college grad with plenty of job experience
d) 50 year old unemployed worker with tons of job experience

Who would you hire, assuming that they would all take the same wage (which they probably would)? I'm guessing that you probably wouldn't go with option a).

The national unemployment numbers need to steadily decrease before teenagers start getting hired again.

Source: - Teens Face Worst Summer Job Market in 41 Years

Filed under: The Economic Meltdown

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