John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, says this year’s summer job outlook for teens is brighter than last year, but only just.
“Many government agencies do support some of the programs where teens get hired: camp counselors, lifeguards, people working for cities and state and local government. A lot of times, that’s one of the first jobs that teens get. Certainly, those programs are going to be cut back this summer.”
The consequences could go well beyond cutting into gas money or college savings.
“Jobs for teens are so important because it’s the way young people find their way in the workplace. They learn, in their first jobs, about responsibility, about being on time, about being reliable. When teen employment starts to drop, it means that people are less prepared for their working years.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, between May and July last year, employers filled just 960,000 jobs with 16-to-19-year-olds. That’s the lowest level of summer hiring for teens since 1949.