Study: Teen Summer Unemployment At ‘Historical Low’

Simon Jønler Contributor
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The percentage of teens who have gotten summer jobs has been “steeply declining” since 1999, according to a Drexel University report.

The authors of the report, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, project that the teen employment rate will rise only from 27 percent in 2014 to 29.8 percent in 2015.

“The summer employment rates of teens reached a historical low after the Great Recession of 2007 – 2009,” the report found. “In recent years, teen employment rates in summer have barely increased.”

From 1999 to 2014, the percentage of young people aged 16 to 19 working during the summer plummet from 51.9 percent to 31.7 percent, thanks in large part to the 2008 recession that forced more experienced workers into jobs once filled by teens. Online retail has also limited the openings available.

The data reveals a disparity among employment rates depending on gender, ethnicity, age and socio-economic background.

The study found that women have marginally overtaken men since 1999 by 1.1 points. While all ethnicities suffered significant drops in employment-population rates since 1999, the figures from 2013-14 revealed that black teens had the lowest employment-population rate at 19.7 percent, compared to Hispanic teens at 26.7 percent, and white teens at 38 percent.

Currently, 16-year-olds are above three times less likely to be employed as a 19-year-old. Teens from affluent homes were generally more likely to be employed than those from lower income homes, with a difference as great as a 20.2 rate amongst those from homes with an annual income less than $20.000, and a rate of 40.8 among those from homes earning $100,000 to $149,000.