For teenagers summer time means freedom from those long school days and just fun in the sun. However, for many of them, paying for all that fun in the sun requires money which their parents are sick of shelling out. In the past that meant one thing: the classic summer job. However, according to new data from Pew Research Center, teens are working less than they used to during the summer months.
Pew looked at the average employment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds in June, July and August and found that from the 1940s through the 1980s summer employment for this age group followed an expected progression with fluctuations mirroring the conditions of the job market. It was really after the recession in 1992 that the teen employment rate remained stagnant at 50%. It then dropped again in 2001 and again around 2008. It was at 30% between 2010 and 2011 and then inched up to 35% last summer, but this is still way under those pre-recession years.
Teens are working less in general for a number of reasons including higher enrollment in summer education courses and more volunteer work according to Pew. Plus there are just fewer low-skill entry-level jobs available.
Would you like fries with that?
However if they are in the small group of teens that do have summer employment they tend to work in the food industry as in washing dishes or bussing tables at restaurants or hotels. Long gone are the days of working at the mall in a fun clothing store – last summer employment of teens at retailers saw a 35.3% drop from the year before. But food services is actually the only industry that had more adolescent workers in the summer of 2017 than in the summer of 2000. According to Pew, almost 2.1 million of the estimated 6.2 million teens employed last July worked in the food industry.
The construction and manufacturing industries also saw declines in teen employment but the “arts, entertainment and recreation” sector, which includes sports teams and museums saw a slight bump in teen employment since the summer of 2000.