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Summer teen jobs hard to find, I told you so…13 Jun 2008 10:02 am

lazy-teen.jpgOkay, I try not to toot my own horn, too much. But many months ago I wrote about how this would be a tough summer for teens looking for employment. And surprise, surprise, it looks like I was right.

Newspapers across the country, from Michigan to Delaware, have been writing about the problem this week.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Metro Detroit teens might find plenty of opportunities to volunteer this summer, but landing a paid job will not be as easy. And many area employers say teens who have not applied for jobs yet have even slimmer hopes of gainful employment.

And the Wilmington News Journal reports:

Gallucio’s Cafe in Wilmington used to have a handful of teens working part time during the summer, but now those positions have been replaced with full-time and year-round employees.

“Things have changed. The opportunities that were here aren’t here anymore,” said Bob Losey, Gallucio’s owner. “It’s harder for businesses to give summer jobs.”

Losey said that while he has a few teenagers on staff, most of his employees are older and were hired before the summer.

I know, it’s hard for people to plan ahead, especially for younger people. But unfortunately, it will be the savvy teens who were thinking about summer jobs months ago that had the pick of the crop.

There are lots of things working against teens. The economy is at the top of the list. But also, immigrants and older workers are increasingly muscling in on jobs that were once mainly a haven for young kids, things like restaurants, landscaping and clothing shops.

From my MSNBC.com column that ran in March:

A report put out this month by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University states that “the summer 2008 job outlook for teens looks particularly bleak.”

During the recession of 2001, the teen employment rate plummeted, says Joseph McLaughlin, research associate with the center, maintaining that teens are typically the hardest hit group during tough economic times. “We could be headed toward a historic low in the teen employment rate this summer,” he warns.

Adding to the problems, he says, is the growing number of older workers going after traditional teen jobs in retail and food services, and also the increase in illegal and legal immigrants vying for those jobs.

“Employers view adults as more responsible than teens, and they don’t have to worry about them going back to school,” he notes.

Teens need to keep this in mind when they head over to a store or restaurant and decide to fill out an application.

Please don’t wear shorts and flip flops if you want to make a good impression. I know, it’s summer, you’re out of school and you want to let it all hang out. But just don’t let it hang out too much when you meet a prospective employer.

Here are some sites teens can check out right now: TeenJobSection.com; JobDoggy.com and Groovejob.com.

And here’s some sound advice for parents from Debi Yohn, author of “Parenting College Students: 27 Winning Strategies for Success.”

“Have them talk to parents of their friends, teachers, and adult friends of the family. The teen can let everyone know they are looking for a job,” she notes. “You might role-play this with them so they are more comfortable. But remember, let them do their marketing. Do not do it all for them. You will deprive them of the lesson.”

I know, this is hard for us parents to do. But if we don’t, they’ll end up sitting on our couches and watching TV until they’re 30.

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