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Teens flock back to summer jobs, with participation at 2009 high

July 18, 2022 Updated Mon., July 18, 2022 at 9:55 p.m.

Workers frost cupcakes a bakery in New York in this undated photo. Teenagers are flooding back to the labor market this summer.  (Bloomberg )
Workers frost cupcakes a bakery in New York in this undated photo. Teenagers are flooding back to the labor market this summer. (Bloomberg )
By Katia Dmitrieva Bloomberg Bloomberg

U.S. teens are flooding back to the labor market this summer, hoping to pocket some extra cash as inflation surges across the country.

The participation rate for teens in the job market last month increased to 42.9%, the highest for any June since 2009, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a job-placement firm.

There’s usually a bump of hiring for teenagers over the summer months, with millions of students on break from school, but patterns were disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The jump in participation is particularly good news for industries that have been struggling to fill posts as consumers ramp up spending on services, rather than goods.

Employers added 884,000 jobs for workers age 16 to 19, a 41% increase from last year, according to government data analyzed by Challenger.

The news marks a stark contrast with a Census Bureau report earlier this month that highlighted a slump in one measure of teen jobs to a 28-year low during summer 2021.

“Teens are ready and willing to work again, and the opportunities are plentiful,” Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement.

“Right now, and possibly through the summer, people are willing to spend in places teens typically find employment.”Leisure and hospitality jobs, along with retail, recorded the biggest gains among youth jobs, the June data show.

Those sectors have had a particularly tough struggle to regain pre-COVID-19 levels of employment.

July hiring could prove strong, too, Challenger said.

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