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Summer 2010 is the worst summer on record for teens who wanted jobs.

The worst summer on record for young people who wanted a job is staggering to an end this Labor Day weekend. Only 47.6% of people ages 16 to 24 had jobs in August, the lowest level since the government began keeping track in 1948, the Labor Department said Friday. By comparison, 62.8% of that age group was employed in August 2000.


The ongoing recession hit young people especially hard this summer, sending many back to school with fewer dollars to spend.

The unemployment rate averaged a record 18.3% during June, July and August for those under 25. That’s more than twice the jobless rate for people 25 and older. Overall, the jobless rate edged up to 9.6% in August. It was 9.5% in July.

Traditional summer jobs were in short supply everywhere this season:

  • Restaurants were hit hard by cutbacks in consumer spending — and that hurt an industry in which 40% of workers are under 25.
  • States and cities, struggling with budget problems, hired fewer high school and college kids to work in parks, pools and other places. New York City slashed its summer youth employment program from 52,000 to 35,500 because of state funding cutbacks.

Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association, says fewer people are quitting jobs in the recession, shrinking job openings for young workers. When jobs do become available, experienced, older workers are often available.

“Restaurant operators report a much wider variety of applicants to choose from,” Riehle says.

One bright sign: Restaurants added more than 12,000 jobs in August.

Young people are flooding back to community colleges and technical schools to reinvent themselves for jobs in health care and other fields.

“We’ve seen an explosion in students coming back because the job market has turned south,” says Colleen Hartfield, a vice president at Hinds Community College, which has 13,000 students in six central Mississippi locations. “People are trying to prepare themselves for a very tight job market.”

Even when a job is available, young people can have a hard time getting it. “Older people are taking positions that they don’t necessarily desire because they need a job,” Hartfield says. “If you’re a store manager and can hire a person with one year of college and some experience, you’re not going to choose a person with a minimum high school education.”

 Via USA Today