Photo: Gaggy Chouke
For many students and new graduates, work doesn’t end after school breaks for the summer. Now it’s time to hunt for a summer job.
But Pew Research Center analysis has found that fewer and fewer teenagers are successful in this hunt. Only 20% of people aged 16- to 17-years-old were employed in summer jobs in 2014, an employment rate that’s less than half of what it was in 2000. White teenagers were the racial group most likely to be employed.
The Pew Research Center believed that the decline in teen summer jobs is likely because more teens are doing unpaid community service or internships for their careers, and unpaid internships are not considered employment by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It also doesn’t help that there are fewer low-skill and entry-level jobs nowadays than in previous decades. And previous summer jobs, like fast-food service, are now dominated by adult workers.
So with the bar getting higher to find a paid summer job, people searching for jobs need all the help they can get. WalletHub’s new study has made that hunt a little easier. Looking at the youth job market and social environment and affordability in the most populated 100 U.S. cities, researchers examined factors like the availability of summer jobs, access to public transportation, and minimum wage.
Orlando, FL, is the best city to find a summer job
Researchers concluded that Orlando, Florida, is the best place for our bright-eyed youths to go get summer jobs. Scottsdale, Arizona, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, ranked second and third.
Because the study weighted the availability of the job market as the most important factor, Orlando, Fla., came out on top. Orlando has the most part-time job openings per 1,000 people ages 16 to 24 in the labor force.
“Orlando sees a huge bump in summer employment so just June through August, it sees about a 4% bump in its total employment and that’s huge and that’s hard to beat,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told Ladders.
A low unemployment rate of young people and a low rate of people ages 16 to 24 living below the poverty line also helped Orlando’s dominance as the best place for summer jobs.
This makes sense because the summer tourism industry is the bread and butter of Central Florida’s economy. Walt Disney Resort is the region’s top employer, offering 70,000 jobs. Disney is also one of the world’s largest internship employers, hiring about 7,000-8,000 college students and recent graduates to work full-time, minimum-wage internships.
As critic Ross Perlin noted, the Disney College Program is not the Happiest Place on Earth for the interns who work there. Perlin described the experiential education program “as much a mirage as the original EPCOT” because thousands of interns work long hours and do vague assignments “without sick days or time off, without grievance procedures, without guarantees of workers’ compensation or protection against harassment or unfair treatment.”
As Goofy would say: oh gawrsh.
Moreno Valley, California is the worst city for summer jobs
Moreno Valley, California, meanwhile became the worst city to work a summer job for being everything Orlando wasn’t. The area around San Bernardino has suffered from a struggling economy and several companies leaving the area over the past decade. “Where Orlando got high marks in all of the categories,” Gonzalez told us. “Moreno got very low marks: a high unemployment rate for 16 to 24-year-olds, many of them living below the poverty line, no bump in summer employment.”
There were also regional differences when it came to summer jobs: “Four out of the high cities that have the highest labor force participation rate all happen to be in the Midwest,” Gonzalez said. “I think that is a testament to Midwestern mentality,” or a work ethic where you “work on your summers off.”
So when it comes to the quantity of jobs, there is no place better than Orlando, Florida for a summer job. As for quality? Well, that’s not guaranteed.