Summer Job Market Off to Slower Start for Nation’s Teens


The number of teens finding jobs in May was down from the previous two years. However, if history is any indication, the decline does not necessarily indicate that the 2015 summer job market will be a bust for the nation’s 16- to 19-year-olds, according to an analysis by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

According to the latest employment situation report, released last Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employed teens grew by 182,000 in May. That is 16 percent fewer than the 217,000 teens added to payrolls in May 2014. The May 2014 figure was slightly better than the 215,000 teen job gains recorded in May 2013.

Last month’s teen employment gains were the lowest since 2012, when employment among 16- to -19-year-olds increased by 157,000. However, the slow start in 2012 preceded the two strongest summer job market in five years. Overall, teen employment grew by 1,397,000 between May and July of that year, which was the biggest job gain for teens since 2007, when employment in this age group expanded by 1,635,000.

“The strong May job gains in 2013 and 2014 were followed by softer growth in June and July. By the end of the summer hiring months, 2013 job gains were three percent lower than in 2012. Job gains in 2014 were four percent lower than the previous year. So, the May figure is rarely serves as an accurate indicator of the over summer job market,” noted John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Overall, teen employment is up from a year ago. As of May, there were 4,718,000 employed 16- to 19-year-olds. That is five percent more than the 4,473,000 teens employed in May 2014.
In its annual teen summer job outlook, Challenger estimated that the summer employment market would be stronger for this year’s teen job seekers.

“Teenagers are benefiting from an improving economy and job market. Young Americans in their 20s, who might have been settling for jobs typically held by teenagers are finding better jobs. This is opening the door for the youngest job seekers,” said Challenger.

“While many summer jobs have already been filled, it is never too late to start or renew one’s job search. There usually is high turnover in the types of jobs occupied by teenagers. Retail, restaurant service, amusement parks, etc., may continue hiring throughout the summer to replace people who quit or were let go for whatever reason. Do not be afraid to return to employers that may have already turned you down for a job. Lastly, look for opportunities to sub in for workers who may be taking summer trips with their family. If you can get a referral from a current worker, it could ease your way into the position,” Challenger advised.

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