2014 Teen Summer Jobs Update: Strong Spring Stunted Summer Growth

More teenagers found jobs in July compared to a year ago, but it was not enough to lift the overall summer hiring total above last year’s levels, according to an analysis of government employment data by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Employment among the nation’s 16- to 19-year-olds increased by 419,000 in July, a 16 percent improvement from the 361,000 teens hired in July 2013.

However, the year-over-year increase in July comes on the heels of a 15 percent decline in teen employment gains in June. As a result, summer hiring among teens was slightly lower than a year ago.
Employment among 16- to 19-year-olds grew by 1,297,000 during the peak summer hiring months of May, June and July. That was down 4.3 percent from the same period in 2013, when teen employment increased by 1,355,000.

Despite the decline in teen hiring this summer, the overall employment level for 16- to 19-year-olds is still ahead of last year, due to unusually heavy hiring in the spring. As of July, 5,553,000 teenagers were employed, compared to 5,504,000 in July 2013.

The spring hiring surge may have lowered demand for additional hiring this summer. Employers added 276,000 teenagers to their payrolls in March. While it is not uncommon to see teen employment gains in March, the average over the previous 10 years was 50,000.

“The unemployment rate among teens is still relatively high at 21 percent. That is down significantly from a recession peak of 29 percent in June 2010, but it is certainly indicative of a challenging market for the youngest job seekers,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“It is true that more and more teens are abandoning the labor pool for a variety of reasons, including increased volunteerism, summer school, sports and other activities. However, for the millions who remain active job seekers, there is more competition for fewer opportunities. In areas such as retail and food service, teens may vie for jobs against more experienced college students; recent graduates; stay-at-home parents, seeking to make extra spending money; and would-be retirees, who are supplementing their retirement income,” said Challenger.