Summer Jobs Fail: Only 27% Of Teens Can Find Work

June 19, 2012 - 11:05 AM

Rachel Jankowski, a University of Michigan student, Young America's Foundation intern, and summer job-seeker explains how tough it's gotten for students like her to find work these days:

For a teenager, another summer means another opportunity to make some quick cash to spend on going to the movies or saving for college. But, lately, the jobs have just not been there.

A recent report from Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies confirms that this summer will be even worse: only 26.8% of teenagers will be able to find a job.

Most teens will have to sit around and wait with the hopes that someone calls for an interview. For the past two summers, I was one of those people.  Going out for a month, hitting every restaurant and store in my suburban Detroit hometown in the hopes that someone—anyone—would need another person to work at their business. Bloomberg claims one out of every six 16- to 24-year-olds was in this daunting position last year and was unable to find work.

For businesses, it’s already rarely worth it to hire a temporary student-worker. In this economy, many experienced workers are looking for full-time jobs, so why would an employer invest in an employee who can only work for the summer? Most businesses choose to invest in someone who can stick around.

Another problem is employers find young people too expensive to hire. Federal regulation costs businesses more than $10,000 to hire one additional employee. The passage of ObamaCare poses a big problem because it alone raises the cost of healthcare by 50% for young people.

Ask a senior in high school if they know of someone looking for a job. Ask a mother of three teenagers if one of her kids needs to find work. Most, if not all, will have a friend or family member in search of a job. Then ask them if they know of any place hiring. According to a recent article in the Huffington Postmore than 44% of teens are unable to work as much as they want to. I was finally offered a job that first summer of my job search, where I was given seven hours a week. It was not even enough to cover my drive to work because of high gas prices. Finally, I was forced to return to my high school job so I could come out of work actually making money.

A University of Michigan student, Young America's Foundation intern, and summer job-seeker explains how tough it's gotten for students like her to find work these days.

If it is already this hard to find a minimum wage job, what will happen to my generation when we have to look for a “real” job?

If a college graduate begins looking for job prospects, but has never worked a job before because he was unable to find one, it will be extremely hard for him to land a sustainable career. With more teens becoming disheartened and quitting their job search, will these teens, upon looking for a job, become discouraged workers at an even faster pace than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations?

Sadly, there seems to be no end in sight either. Bloomberg reports over the past four years, 41% of the net-decline in full-time jobs has been among those under the age of 25. A staggering two-thirds of lost full-time jobs have been by those 35-years-old and younger. According to government predictions, employment rates for young adults will continue to drop. By 2020, 16 to 24-year-olds will make up only 11% of the labor force thanks to the government’s failed policies and excessive regulations.

For teenagers, they can give it the old college try (if they or their parents can afford it), but after a while, what’s a kid to do?

Editor's Note: Rachel Jankowski is a Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar at Young America’s Foundation. She will be a senior at the University of Michigan this fall.