Teen Summer Jobs Update: Employment Below 2012 Levels

After getting off to its strongest start in seven years, the pace of teen hiring in June and July declined from last year’s levels, as a slowdown in economic activity provided little reason to grow payrolls.  Overall, teen employment gains during the three-month summer hiring season were down 3.0 percent from 2012, according to an analysis of government employment data by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

A Challenger analysis of just-released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that employment among 16- to 19-year-olds grew by 1,355,000 between May 1 and July 31.  That was 3.0 percent lower than the 1,397,000 teenagers finding employment during the same period a year ago.  Last year’s teen job gains were the strongest since 2007, when employers hired 1,635,000 teenagers during the summer months.

This year, teen hiring started strongly, with 215,000 16- to 19-year-olds finding jobs in May.  That was the largest number of teens hired in May since 2006, when 230,000 teenagers were added to payrolls in the first month of the summer hiring season. 

In June, employment among teens grew by 779,000, down 9.2 percent from June 2012, when teen job gains reached 858,000, the highest June figure in five years.  Last month, teen employment grew by 361,000, which is 5.5 percent fewer than the 382,000 teen workers hired the same month a year ago.

After adding in the summer job gains, a total of 5,504,000 teenagers were employed as of the end of July, which is typically when teen employment reaches its annual peak.  That is up nearly 6.0 percent from 2011, when teen employment in July totaled 5,193,000, the lowest July teen employment level since 1959.  However, the number of employed teenagers is still well short of a pre-recession peak of 7,494,000, recorded in July 2006.  The largest number of teenagers working at one time was in July 1978, when 10,033,000 16- to 19-year-olds were employed. 

“The economy slowed a bit as the summer got underway.  Retail sales were particularly anemic in May and June, which is when decisions regarding the need for additional summer hiring were being made.  Meanwhile, other traditional summer employment venues for teens, such as movie theaters, pools, camps and amusement parks, are likely to have completed the bulk of their hiring in May, only hiring additional workers if it was necessary to replace someone who left or was dismissed,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“Teenagers also faced more competition from older, more experienced job seekers, such as recent college graduates and recent retirees.  Throughout most of the country, the market for higher-paying, salaried positions is still very tight.  Those in their early 20s, who are still in college or who recently graduated are taking jobs in retail, food service and other areas where teens once represented the bulk of the labor force.  Perhaps as a result of this shift or maybe due to changing attitudes about employment, in general, a growing number of teenagers appear to dropping out of the labor market, entirely,” noted Challenger.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 16,795,000 civilian, non-institutionalized 16- to 19-year-olds in the United States, only 7,264,000, or just about 43 percent, are employed or actively seeking employment.  Of the 9,530,000 remaining teenagers who are not considered part of the labor force (because they did not actively seek employment during the four weeks prior to survey), only 1,254,000 want a job.  Even fewer (482,000) actually searched for employment over the past 12 months or since the end of their last job. 

“In all, there are nearly 8.3 million teenagers who simply do not want a job or, at least, are making no concerted effort to find a job.  This represents a major shift in teen employment trends.  In 1980, for example, nearly 71 percent of teenagers were employed or looking for employment in July,” said Challenger.

“These figures do not necessarily mean that all of these non-working teens are sitting around idle.  Many may be falling under the employment radar.  Some may be taking a more entrepreneurial path, earning money through a variety of odd jobs, such as lawn mowing and babysitting.  Others may be volunteering or working without pay for a family business.  More may be taking summer classes or participating in organized sports that don’t allow enough time for summer jobs.  Today’s teenagers have far more options than previous generations and jobs at the local mall or in a fast-food restaurant are perhaps being shunned,” Challenger concluded.    







Summer Jobs Gained

Change from Prior Year




































































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



Teen Summer Jobs Update: Hiring Slips In June

Teen hiring got off to its strongest start in seven years in 2013, but heavy employment gains in May appear to have caused employers to pull back slightly in June.  However, with 994,000 16- to -19-year-olds finding seasonal positions so far this summer, it is still possible that teen hiring could outpace 2012, according to John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

A Challenger analysis of just-released government employment data found that employers added 215,000 teenagers to their payrolls in May.  That is the largest number of teens hired in May since 2006, when employment among 16- to 19-year-olds expanded by 230,000 in the first month of the summer hiring season.

The latest non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that another 779,000 teens found employment in June.  That was down from June 2012, when teen employment grew by 858,000.  Overall, the 994,000 teens finding jobs so far this summer is down 2.1 percent from the 1,015,000 teen job winners in May and June of last year. Continue reading

Bulletin: Youth, Long Term Jobless Biggest Obstacles To Recovery

The latest employment report revealed a job market that is most definitely improving.  That is, unless you are under the age of 20 or you have been out of work for more than six months.  Youth and long-term unemployment are not only inflating the unemployment rate, but they are a drag on the economic recovery.  According to an unpublished table of non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,488,000 Americans in April have been out of work for at least 27 weeks.  Of those, more than 3,000,000 (3,085,000) have been jobless for a year or longer.  “This prolonged unemployment takes a significant toll on the economy, not only in lost spending, but in lost tax revenue.  If politicians are truly concerned about reigniting the economy and fixing the deficit, getting these people back on payrolls should be the top priority,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.  Meanwhile, 16- to 19-year-olds represent less than 4 percent of the civilian labor force, but they account for nearly 12 percent of the unemployed.  “Teenagers typically earn less, but they are more likely to spend a greater portion of their earnings on food, clothes, entertainment, etc.  Ironically, these are the same areas that usually provide teenagers with the most job opportunities.  Unfortunately, due to slow job growth in higher-skilled, higher-paying occupations, the jobs that would normally be filled by teens are being filled by recent college graduates, stay-at-home mothers returning to the workforce, and seniors,” said Challenger.  What can policymakers do to get long-term unemployment back on payrolls?  What can long-term unemployed do to re-ignite job search?  How does the summer job market look for teenagers and what can they do to find these seasonal opportunities?

More Opportunities for Teens This Summer

More opportunities for teens this summer if they get off the computer and in front of employers.

Continued employment gains across the economy, but particularly in lower-skilled, lower-paying hourly wage categories, are expected to benefit teenagers seeking jobs this summer, according to a new outlook released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

While job-seeking teens are likely to face competition from recent college graduates, as well as those at the opposite end of the age spectrum, employment gains for 16- to 19-year-olds in May, June and July should surpass last year’s levels.

“There will definitely be more opportunities for teenagers seeking employment this summer.  Of course, it is still a competitive environment.  So, teens should not expect employers to come knocking on their door.  The search will require maximum effort, starting now, in order to have a position lined up before the school year ends,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Get the full outlook here.