2023 Teen Summer Job Outlook

Published April 13, 2023

Will Employers Add More Jobs for Teens in Face of Possible Recession?

Last year, the annual unemployment rate for teens, at 10.8%, was at its lowest point since 1953, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This data also suggested the participation rate of 36.8 was at the highest point since 2009. As teens flock to jobs, and their older counterparts are slower to gain employment, will employers create positions for teens and, more importantly, will they take them?

Outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. predicts teens will gain 1.1 million jobs in 2023, slightly lower than last year’s gains, and the lowest since 2011. This estimate is based on not only the potential for an economic slowdown that may impact job creation, but also the fact that despite need, teens will not take available jobs.

“Teens that want jobs are basically working right now,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“Amusement parks, pools, restaurants, and summer entertainment venues most certainly have needs. These are in-person, shift roles that older job seekers may reject in lieu of remote or hybrid work. Teens are less likely to demand flexibility or higher wages, so while attractive to employers, the question is will the teens take the jobs,” he added.

Teens Are Working At Pre-Pandemic Levels

In March, 5,480,000 workers aged 16 to 19 were employed, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the BLS. That’s the highest March total since 2007, when 5,611,000 teens were employed.

Read the Teen Employment Summer 2022 Forecast.

Last summer, employers added 1,239,000 jobs, the lowest number of jobs since 2015, when 1,160,000 jobs were added in the summer for teens. During 2020, nearly 2.2 million jobs were added for teens in the summer, the most recorded.

Tips for Teen Job Seekers

Start Early: For teens seeking summer employment, June is traditionally the most popular month for teen hiring. However, teens who want to find work for the summer would be wise to start readying their resumes and applications before school ends for the year.

Create and connect to your network: Many teens may not think they have a network, but that could not be further from the truth. Teens should reach out to their friends, parents, instructors – both current and past, coaches, and friends’ parents to inquire about potential opportunities. They should also seek out the managers of places they frequent to see if they are hiring.

Create a resume: Teens should include extra-curricular activities, volunteer experience, or any other information that would show an employer you are able to work as part of a team, are a self-starter, or can manage a project.

Look in unexpected places: While summer camps, retail establishments, and theme parks or movie theaters come to mind for teens, in a period of expansion, many offices will need administrative staff who can organize files, take calls, or even manage social media profiles. Teens can also investigate summer paid internships in industries they find appealing or for which they are passionate. These are great avenues for teens to gain real work experience.

Practice common interview questions: Be ready to talk about your strengths, experiences, and why you are interested in the job. Dress professionally and arrive on time for interviews. Be polite and respectful to everyone you interact with during the interview process.

Learn from rejections: If you do face rejections, view them as learning opportunities. Ask for feedback on why you weren’t selected and use that feedback to improve your resume, interview skills, or qualifications for future job applications.

Stay professional online: Many employers may check your social media presence during the hiring process. Review and clean up your social media profiles to ensure they reflect a positive and professional image.

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Contact Colleen Madden Blumenfeld for more data or to set up an interview with SVP Andy Challenger.

Contact Challenger for Media Inquiries

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