A Drought in Teen Summer Jobs- Especially for Minorities

Alarm bells have rung on the teenage summer jobs in the United States with less than three out of ten American teenagers holding jobs such as busing restaurant tables, mowing lawns or running cash registers as per the data released from June to August. This fall is the lowest one in teen summer jobs in the age group of 16 to19 since World War-II and the decline is on its lowest ebb since 2000. In totality, it is estimated that more than 44% of the teens requiring summer jobs are not getting them or if they did get the job, they had to work for fewer hours than they would prefer.

The latest statistics on summer jobs released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals a much gloomy picture for minority – low income teens. The chances of being employed in summer jobs for blacks, Hispanics and teens in lower income families are quiet grim.

The statistics reveals that Hispanics in families whose family income is less than $40,000 faced difficulties in finding summer jobs (only 19% are employed) while those middle class black teens with a family income of $75,000-$100,000 were fairly better that is about 28% of them are employed. In case of African- American teens with a family income of less than $40,000 a year (14% are employed) and in case of white teens with a family income of $100,000-$150,000- 44% are employed.

The State of Arizona ranks highest in the United States for its share of U.S. teens who are not able to get the summer jobs they desired and the unemployment rate among teens in this state is 58%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the teen employment may never return to pre-recession levels. The reason for a sharp decline in the teen summer job employment is attributed to the immigrants, older workers and debt laden college graduates who are taking away low-skill work as they are facing turmoil in finding their own jobs in the weak economy.

Another aspect for the drop in teen employment is partly related with cultural shift as more youths are spending summer months in learning or in music camps or at schools or in other college activities. The decline in summer jobs is troublesome for those adolescents who need key employment skills, incomes to support their families and/or for funding their higher education needs. About 5.1 million or just 29.6 percent of teens in the age group of sixteen to nineteen year olds were employed during last summer.

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