Teenagers saw their strongest summer job gains in five years, as an improving economy and less competition from older job seekers helped nearly 1.4 million 16- to 19-year-olds find employment in May, June, and July, according to an analysis of non-seasonally adjusted jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Employment among 16- to 19-year-olds grew by 382,000 in July, the final month of the annual teen hiring period. July job gains were up 26 percent from 2011, when teen employment increased by 302,000. Overall, the number of employed teens grew by 1,397,000 from May through July, which represents a 29 percent increase from the previous summer, which saw 1,087,000 teens added to the employment rolls.
This summer’s job surge among teens was the largest since 2007, when teen employment experienced a net gain of 1,635,000 over the three-month hiring period. Teen employment can be expected to shrink in August as 16- to 19-year-olds return to school. Over the previous five years, the number of employed teenagers fell in August by an average of 523,000.
“These are the best job gains teenagers have experienced since the recession. While not quite reaching pre-recession levels, these gains are certainly a strong indicator that the overall job market continues to improve. The job gains not only signal better conditions for retailers, leisure and entertainment establishments and tourist destinations, but the fact that these jobs were not being filled by older workers suggests that these more experienced job seekers are finding better positions,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“It is too early to tell, but the strong summer hiring could be a precursor to improved holiday hiring. Many of the establishments that add summer workers – retailers, restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels – are the ones adding extra workers during the holiday season. These employers are likely to start interviewing for seasonal workers in October and continue adding workers through early December,” said Challenger.
Holiday hiring has increased for three consecutive years, after falling to a near record low in 2008. However, unlike summer seasonal hiring, teenagers are not the primary beneficiaries of holiday employment gains. In 2011, employment in retail grew by 718,500 jobs over the final three months of the year. Teen employment over that period saw a net gain of just 16,000.
Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. using non-seasonally adjusted data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics