Teens: Still Hunting For That Summer Job?

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Well you’re not alone…

NYTIMES: TOUGHEST SUMMER JOB THIS YEAR IS FINDING ONE

TULSA, Okla. — School is out, and Aaron Stallings, his junior year of high school behind him, wanders the air-conditioned cocoon of the Woodland Hills Mall in search of a job.

Mr. Stallings, 18, says he has been looking for three months, burning gasoline to get to the mall, then filling out applications at stores selling skateboard T-shirts, beach sandals and baseball caps. He likes the idea of working amid the goods he covets. But so far, no offers.

“I’m going to go to Iraq and get a job,” he says acidly. “I hear they’ve got cheap gas.” He grins. “I’m just playing. But I’ve been all over, and nobody’s hiring. They just say, ‘We’ll call you tomorrow.’ And no one ever calls back.”

As the forces of economic downturn ripple widely across the United States, the job market of 2008 is shaping up as the weakest in more than half a century for teenagers looking for summer work, according to labor economists, government data and companies that hire young people.

This deterioration is jeopardizing what many experts consider a crucial beginning stage of working life, one that gives young people experience and confidence along with pocket money.

Little more than one-third of the 16- to 19-year-olds in the United States are likely to be employed this summer, the smallest share since the government began tracking teenage work in 1948, according to a research paper published by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. That is a sharp drop from the 45 percent level of teenage employment reached in 2000.

The rates among minority young people have been particularly low, with only 21 percent of African-Americans and 31 percent of Hispanics from the ages of 16 to 19 employed last summer, according to the Labor Department.
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