Teen Summer Employment Rate Lowest Since WWII - WSET.com - ABC13

Teen Summer Employment Rate Lowest Since WWII

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Reporter:  David Tate

Roanoke Co., VA - As school ends and millions of kids hit the pavement looking for summer work, many of them are finding that summer jobs are just not there.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics says teen unemployment is at its worst since World War II.  That grim statistic shows that nationwide 7 out of 10 teenagers aren't working - a number that some experts say may never return to pre-recession levels.

Breanne Stanford, 16, just wrapped up her junior year at Northside High School and needed a summer job to help her buy a car. She got lucky and found one quickly.

"Actually it was the first place I applied for," said Sanford.

Justin Patterson, 17, only needed to put in two applications and he too found a job - both teens work at Splash Valley.

Both know they are very lucky. They both have a lot of friends that aren't.

"They're all out looking for one but it's pretty hard due to college students coming back during the summer," said Patterson.

"I have a lot of friends that are seniors and they've applied to tons of places and really haven't gotten a job. I guess I just got lucky," said Sanford.

The reasons are many, causing the rate to plummet since the year 2000. Some of the reasons are because of the economy.

"Generally, in life guarding alone, we've always needed young kids but I'm finding more retention with the college kids and older adults even," said Splash Valley's Director Tanya Richardson.

Other reasons include a cultural shift that sees fewer kids looking in favor of summer sports or camp.

Still, 44% of those that want to work can't or are underemployed, leaving teens who can find a job just thankful things worked out for them.

In the year 2000, the teen summer employment rate stood at just more than 50% compared to just under 30% now.

Some experts believe that with this cultural shift, summer teen employment rates may never again get that high, instead settling in at around 40%.

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