September 7, 2011

Summer Jobs

 The economy kept some teens from landing a job this summer.

“Lifeguard, fast food and mowing.”

Justin: How did you make your extra cash this summer? Lifeguarding? Flipping burgers? Or did you spend your summer trying to find work, like these Chicago teens?

“I haven’t really found a job, but I’ve been looking really hard.”

Justin: When you have been looking for jobs, how tough has it been for you?

“Well, it’s been pretty hard this year because I haven’t received any callbacks.”

“Over the summer, it was no callbacks and no job.”

Justin: Sounded familiar to these two in San Francisco, California.

Where are you guys looking for jobs?

“We checked the mall. We checked the — What is it? — Marina District. We spent a whole day in the mall, and it was, like, nothing.

Justin: From San Francisco to here in Chicago, the 2011 summer job search has been a mixed bag. Some teens found jobs, while others didn’t. But more teens found jobs this summer than in summers past. So what is behind the spike? An expert here in Chicago has some ideas.

It’s been a tough job market out there for teens.

John Challenger: Yes, it’s been very tough. Just last year, we saw the lowest number of teens go to work during the summer that we’ve since the recession began. This June, we started to see an improvement on jobs. The turn around though is much better than expected. So, even though teen unemployment is high, more companies have added teens this summer.

Justin: John Challenger is the CEO of Chicago-based job consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. His firm looked over teen jobs data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and here is what they found:

More than a million jobs were held by teens aged 16 to 19 from May through July, up from a record low of 970,000 last summer.

This year’s uptick is still nowhere near the average maintained between 2004 and 2007 of more than 1.5 million jobs.

So, why aren’t the numbers higher? Challenger’s firm points to all the country’s economic ups and downs over the summer, which made companies wary of taking on new workers, especially younger ones who are now competing with adults for work in places like fast food restaurants.

Teen job hunters know it is a tough market. And it is especially hard for young Hispanics. A study from Northeastern University finds just 21% of Hispanic teens held jobs last summer, compared to 32% of whites the same age. A frustration Francisco and Chantal felt firsthand.

How stressful is it when you want to work, and you put yourself out there, and you still can’t find jobs?

“It’s really stressful. It’s frustrating, you know?”

“You kind of want to give up, but you know you have to just keep on looking, I guess.”

Justin: You have been out of work all summer. You have been looking since May. You haven’t found anything. You can’t give up, right?

“Don’t give up!”

Justin: Job advice from an expert. Because it won’t be long until jobs for the holiday season will be on your mind.

Justin Finch, Channel One News.


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