Teen hiring slower than last summer

A surge of spring hiring may be responsible for a slowdown in teens finding work this summer, according to a new report released Monday.

Even though more teenagers found jobs in July compared with a year ago, the summer total fell below last year’s levels, according to an analysis by Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a firm that monitors the labor market.

The teen unemployment rate has dropped to 21 percent, from a recession-high of 29 percent in June 2010, as hurdles remain for teens seeking work, according to John Challenger, chief executive officer of the firm.

“It is true that more and more teens are abandoning the labor pool for a variety of reasons, including increased volunteerism, summer school, sports and other activities," he said.  

"However, for the millions who remain active job seekers, there is more competition for fewer opportunities.”  

Teens are competing for jobs in retail and food service, where more experienced workers are turning up.

Overall, employment among 16- to 19-year-olds increased by nearly 1.3 million during the peak summer hiring months of May, June and July, 4.3 percent below the same period in 2013, when teen employment increased by 1.35 million.

In July, employment among the nation’s 16- to 19-year-olds increased by 419,000, a 16 percent improvement from the 361,000 teens hired during the same month last year.

That increase comes on the heels of a 15 percent decline during June.  

Despite the decline in summer hiring, the overall employment level for teens is still ahead of last year, boosted by employers increased efforts in the spring. 

Employers added 276,000 teenagers to their payrolls in March — the average over the previous 10 years was 50,000. 

Through July, nearly 5.6 million teens were employed, compared with 5.5 million through the first seven months of last year.