2021 Teen Summer Job Update – May Numbers

Published JUNE 14, 2020

Employers added 219,000 jobs for teenagers aged 16 to 19 in May, according to an analysis by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., using non-seasonally adjusted employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While down 63% from the 594,000 jobs added last May, prior to 2019, it is the strongest start to summer teen hiring since 230,000 jobs were added in May of 2006. 

“There are scores of opportunities for teens this summer and employers are having a hard time finding talent. Teens can expect higher starting wages, sign-on bonuses, and other perks, like free amusement park passes or employee discounts, to attract them,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Challenger predicts 2 million jobs will be gained by teens this summer.

“The threat of COVID likely kept many teens from seeking work. However, cases have fallen precipitously, making summer jobs, particularly those outdoors, low risk,” he added.

Nearly 140 million Americans are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The seven-day average as of June 7 for new cases was just over 15,000, according to The New York Times, a number not seen since the pandemic began.

Last summer saw a record high of 2,192,000 jobs gained by teens, a 26% increase from the 1,737,000 jobs gained by teenagers in the summer of 2019. The number of employed teens was down by over 1 million jobs from the peak employment figure of 6,409,000 in July 2019 to 5,353,000 in July 2020.

Related: The Summer of COVID; Teens Gain 469,000 Jobs in July 

The good news is as of May 2021, employment for teens seems to have rebounded to even higher than usual as 5,327,000 were employed. That is compared to 3,755,000 the previous May and 4,888,000 in May 2019.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., with non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meanwhile, the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the BLS recorded 9.3 million job openings in April, a record high. The report also found more workers were willing to leave their positions, as the departure rate hit 2.7%, another record high.

“June is typically the month when most teens land jobs, especially as schools let out across the country. This summer is looking good for job seekers regardless of age or industry,” said Challenger.

See the forecast young worker employment report for summer 2021 here.

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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