Are summer jobs a thing of the past?
August 14, 2015
It used to be an American tradition. As soon as school let out for the summer, many teens put on their fast food uniform, grocery store apron, or hotel nametag. They went to work at a summer job. But the practice that seemed regular for people of the past is becoming a rarity. Summer jobs for teens are becoming a thing of the past. That is According to Pew Research.
Pew looked at the average employment rates of teenagers during summer months between 1948 and 2014. It found that the share of teens who get summer jobs has fallen a lot in recent decades. In 1974 and 1984, just over 55 percent of teens between the ages of 16 and 19 held jobs during July. That is when teen employment is usually the highest. But that number fell to just below 45 percent in 2004. And by 2014, things were even worse. Only 31.6 percent of teens were employed during the summer.
Pew said that younger teens are less likely to find a job. Twenty percent of 16- and 17-year-olds had jobs last summer. That is less than half the number who did 14 years ago. Eighteen- and 19-year-olds did better. Some 43.6 percent had jobs last summer. But that job rate was still nearly 20 percent lower than teens in the 2000's.
Why are kids not getting more work? It is tricky. Pew names falling youth jobs over time. But it also says that there are other issues like early school schedules. And the rise of unpaid summer internships might be to blame. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not count unpaid internships as a job. So all the teens doing internships aren't being counted in these numbers. A poor job market could be to blame.
But not having a summer job does not just mean more time to hang out with friends. It can have real impacts on teens who do not get a chance to build their job skills. That is what Andrew Sum says. He is a youth employment expert at Northwestern University. He told the Pew Charitable Trusts' Christine Vestal in 2009 that for every year teens work, they can expect a 14- to 16-percent rise in their income during their twenties.
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are younger teens less likely to find summer jobs that older teens?
Write your answers in the comments section below