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posted on 20 June 2017

Teen Summer Jobs Down 6.4 Percent From Last Year

from Challenger Gray and Christmas

The number of teenagers finding jobs in May declined for the third consecutive year, as a growing number of this population either struggles to find summer employment or simply abandons the traditional labor force.

Employment among 16- to 19-year-olds increased by 146,000 in May, according to an analysis of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data by global outplacement and executive coaching- firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. The job gains in May were 6.4 percent lower than last year, when teen employment grew by 156,000.

SUMMER EMPLOYMENT GROWTH AMONG 16- TO 19-YEAR-OLDS

Year

May

June

July

Summer Jobs Gained

Change from Prior Year

2006

230,000

1,033,000

471,000

1,734,000

-0.10%

2007

62,000

1,114,000

459,000

1,635,000

-5.70%

2008

116,000

683,000

355,000

1,154,000

-29.40%

2009

111,000

698,000

354,000

1,163,000

0.80%

2010

6,000

497,000

457,000

960,000

-17.50%

2011

71,000

714,000

302,000

1,087,000

13.20%

2012

157,000

858,000

382,000

1,397,000

28.50%

2013

215,000

779,000

361,000

1,355,000

-3.00%

2014

217,000

661,000

419,000

1,297,000

-4.30%

2015

182,000

609,000

369,000

1,160,000

-10.60%

2016

156,000

691,000

492,000

1,339,000

15.40%

2017

146,000

?

?

?

AVERAGE(Since 2006)

139,083

757,909

401,909

1,298,273

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

May marks the beginning of the summer hiring surge, which since 2010 has seen an average of 1,227,857 teens added to the workforce between May 1 and July 31. May typically experiences the smallest hiring gains of the three-month period, with the average May gains hitting under 140,000 since 2006. Said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas:

Last summer saw the highest teen job gains since 2013. May typically sees fewer teens added to job rolls than June and July, but this could be due to the fact that students are still in school until the end of May or early June.

Moreover, teen summer employment has fallen on average since the 1970s. This is due to several factors, including the movement of blue-collar workers, whose jobs were lost to overseas competition or technological advancement, to service sector jobs once dominated by teens.

Teens also have other summer priorities, such as school, volunteer opportunities, or family obligations. They might find a few hours of work here and there through family and friends, or work in the ever-expanding gig economy, which is difficult to measure.

While May gains are off to a slow start, June is typically when the majority of teens find summer employment. With the decline of traditional retail opportunities, teens can find work in leisure and hospitality, like theme parks, movie theaters, and park districts. Their tech skills may also be valuable in traditional office settings to potentially digitize files or help set up social media profiles.

Regardless of where teens are looking for work, employers are increasingly looking for soft skills, characteristics such as the ability to work in a team, writing skills, and confidence in speaking in meetings or with management. Teens who are in the job search should brush up on these communication skills in order to help facilitate landing a position.

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