Summer Slump: Teens Struggle to Find Jobs


Summer Slump: Teens Struggle to Find Jobs

The attached transcript provides startling statistics that amplify the importance of the 12-month follow-up period for graduates and non-graduates in the Class of 2013.  Our non-graduates need help in completing requirements for a high school diploma or a GED.  Graduates, however, need help in securing employment in entry-level jobs that lead to career advancement opportunities.  Hopefully, the following excerpts will encourage you to read the entire transcript and to share it with your colleagues.  For teens to find a job in this market, they need considerable classroom training and as much employer marketing, job development, networking, and placement services as time permits.  Read Dr. Sum’s comments and identify those strategies that will overcome a workplace that has not been receptive to teen applicants.


* Over the last 13 years, the United States, for everybody under the age of 57, you are less likely to be working today than you were in 2000, and everybody over 57 is more likely to be working.

* The younger you are, however, the more likely it is that you got thrown out of the labor market.

* So young people have been basically thrown out of manufacturing, construction, transportation, utilities, information services, professional services.  

* So young kids are basically confined to three sectors: fast food, retail trade, and things like you were talking about, the lifeguard, entertainment industry. 

* The less you work when you’re 16, 17, 18, the less you work when you’re in your late teens and early 20s.  This is called “path dependency”.

* The less you work, when you go to get a job, Jeremy, the employer is less likely to train you because he doesn’t trust you. 

* The more experience you bring to the job the better paid you are.

* People who manage to work are far less likely to get involved in criminal activity, delinquent activity, far less like likely to be dependent on the government to support themselves.

* The more employable you are, the more taxes they pay, the fewer transfers they receive.

* If you’re a low-income kid, you are the least likely to work in the summer, and if you are a low-income black kid, the likelihood you work in the summer is only like about six to seven percent.

* The lower income you are, the less likely you live in a family with mom and dad that work, the less likely you are to work.

* The higher your income, until you get to the very top, the greater is the likelihood that you work.

* How do you and I develop good soft skills? By working. And if we don’t work, you can’t develop it. But if you don’t develop good soft skills, you lack the communications skills, learning how to get along.

* We created 225,000 jobs last month for everybody. Do you know how many teens got? Zero. In the last – since the end of 2009, we’ve created five and a half million jobs in this country. Do you know how many teens – how many of those jobs teens got? Minus 44,000, first time ever kids have gotten not one of the jobs we’ve generated since we began to recover from the recession in 2007.


Jim Koeninger, Ph.D.

Jobs for America’s Graduates

National Center for Evidence-Based Practices

Tel. 972.691.4486

Fax. 972.874.0063


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