Teens looking to find seasonal employment aren't likely to find landing that job is any easier this summer than it was a year ago, when teen hiring hit historic lows, a new report shows.

Lackluster improvements in the labor market, combined with cutbacks in government spending at local, state and federal levels, will make finding a summer job this year as challenging as it was in 2010, according to the latest annual teen summer outlook, released Thursday by job-services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Last year, teenage job seekers experienced the weakest seasonal job market in decades. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that from May through July 2010, employment among 16 to 19 year olds increased by just 960,000 jobs, the lowest level since 1949. Further, teen employment last year in July, considered the peak month for teen employment, was at its lowest level since 1959.

"Any teen hiring gains achieved in the slowly improving private sector could be offset by losses in the public sector, where teenagers often find summer employment as camp counselors, lifeguards, office assistants, laborers and clerks," says Challenger CEO John Challenger.

One city targeting teen jobs for cuts is Chicago, where Challenger's firm is based. The city said this week it is reducing the number of summer jobs by 22% because of cuts in federal stimulus money.

Beyond fiscal woes, gas prices, should they continue on their upward trajectory, are expected to result in less teen hiring by amusement parks, landscapers and other businesses that are hit hard when energy costs soar.

Still, Challenger says, not all is lost. He notes, for example, Chicago is still looking to offer 14,000 jobs to teens this summer, despite its cuts.

Stuck in Low Gear

"Even at its worst, employment among teenagers experienced a net gain of nearly 1 million jobs last year," he says. "But in the current environment it will be more important than ever for teens to begin their summer job searches early."

The expected slack in teen summer employment is just one more bit of news that shows the nation's job-creation engine is stuck in low gear. A poll released Thursday by Gallup showed the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 10.2% in mid-March, that's 1.3 percentage points higher than the 8.9% rate calculated by the Labor Department in February.

Gallup says the gap between its unemployment number and that of the federal government can be explained in part by the way in which the Labor Department calculates its numbers, adjusting them for seasonal variations in hiring. That's something that Gallup doesn't do.

Further, the polling group says, its unemployment rate is more up-to-date. Gallup's mid-March data include jobless figures for much of March, whereas the government's latest unemployment rate is based on the employment situation in mid-February.

Most importantly, a key reason the federal government's unemployment rate is dropping has to do with the so-called participation rate, the percentage of working-age Americans counted as being in the workforce. In February, the Labor Department recorded its lowest participation rate since 1984.

In essence, Gallup says, the low participation rate suggests that the unemployment rate as calculated by the government is falling because of a rise in the number of discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work -- not because they are getting new jobs.

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PennylessStudents.com is a great site to find summer employment

June 06 2011 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know why they say our economy is getting better. We are giving illegals jobs, homes, and pretty much whatever they want. Now we are feeling sorry because our teens might not have a job this summer. News flash, even if there was more job openings for teens. The business will pay them just like an illegal, with very little pay. The question you should be asking is. When is our country going to start taking care of our people that still don't have a job? People with an education and experience in the workforce. We even have vets that still can't get a job, me being an example. How is it that, I survive my time in Iraq fighting for my country, protecting our freedom. Then,I come home with no work and now currently on unemployment.

Democrates and liberals need to see the big picture.

March 24 2011 at 6:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dart19k's comment
Brandi Cryer

yeah get rid of the rich illegal millionaires!!

May 03 2011 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When I look around any town usa I see exactly why it is hard for our teens to get a summer job. Illegal aliens have them all covered. The illegals have long ago graduated from the so called farm jobs nobody wants.

March 18 2011 at 10:05 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


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