Jobs Recovery Underway in Retail, Entertainment 

Posted April 20, 2021


Summer jobs created for teens aged 16 to 19 years old soared to 2.2 million during the pandemic-induced recession last year, as the types of jobs created en masse last summer were those that traditionally go to teen workers. With vaccines rolling into arms by the millions each day, better-than-expected retail sales, and a strong March jobs report, the summer of 2021 is shaping up to be a boon for teen job seekers, according to one workplace authority.

“Retailers, quick-service restaurants, and amusement parks are looking for workers right now and many are having a hard time finding them, despite the 8.4 million Americans who are out of work,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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

“This summer, as vaccine numbers increase and regions see transmission rates go down, consumers will be ready to spend at retailers, restaurants, and amusement parks, as well as enroll their children in parks programs and summer camps, creating thousands of opportunities,” he added.

Roughly 25% of the population is fully vaccinated and almost 40% have received at least one shot of a two-dose vaccine as of April 19th, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Meanwhile, March Retail sales surged 9.8%, nearly double what was predicted, likely due to the impact of the stimulus payments. Employment in Leisure and Hospitality increased by 280,000 and in Eating and Drinking Places by 176,000, according to the latest employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This will only continue to go up as restrictions ease nationwide.

Last summer saw a record-high 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 peak employment of 6,409,000 in July 2019 to 5,353,000 in July 2020. As of March 2021, 4,890,000 teens are employed, up from 4,811,000 in the same month last year.

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

“In so many cases across the country last year, as schools entered remote learning and parents found themselves out of work, teens picked up the slack and looked for jobs to contribute to the household. At the same time, demand for grocery workers, delivery drivers, and warehouse workers soared, and many teens took these jobs,” said Challenger.

“The employment situation overall is trending up as we enter this new phase of job recovery. Teens will benefit, as will likely all job seekers, as the light at the end of the tunnel comes closer,” he added.

UPDATE: See the updated numbers for May 2021 on young worker employment.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.


Challenger's Media Coverage

The New York Times


But while many employers are urgently hiring now, as vaccinations increase and coronavirus cases fall, that may not last indefinitely, so it’s wise to submit applications soon. “There are eight million people unemployed,” said Andy Challenger, a senior vice president at the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “Get a jump on it.”



Opinion: In this weird work environment, it just might be a good time to be a teenager

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May 10, 2021 at 7:00 a.m. CDT

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What is job outlook for teens looking for summer work?



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