Teens struggle to find summer jobs

May 30, 2008 11:53:15 PM PDT
If you have a son or daughter looking for a summer job, we have two words: good luck.

This is expected to be the worst summer in 60 years for teenagers trying to find work.

This may be the summer of the disappearing teenage job. At the Youth Employment Partnership in Oakland, they teach young people how to get and keep jobs, but lately that's been tough.

"It's really hard for a young teenager like myself to get a job. It's really hard," said 16-year-old Derrick Barton.

"Employers are not willing to put themselves out there and offer new jobs or jobs at all. The economy is slow and jobs are stagnant," said Julina Bonilla from Youth Employment Partnership.

Back in 2000, the Federal Government says nearly half of youngsters between the ages of 16 and 19 were able to find summer jobs.

This year, that's expected to drop to about a third. The experts who track teenage unemployment have never seen it so bad.

"It's the worst it's been since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping records back in 1948," said UC Berkeley professor Harley Shaiken.

Blames the weak economy and consumers who have little faith it will get better. People don't spend as much eating out. Businesses in turn don't have money to hire young help.

Sarah Harper of Emeryville is paying more than $4 for a gallon of gas. She says she doesn't eat out as much, and yes she has a teenager who struggled to get a summer job.

"It's been really hard for her friends. She got a job with the City of Oakland, but that's a long time working at it. Yeah, it's been hard," said Harper.

There's another dynamic working against teenager job hunters. Not only is the economy in rough shape. Researchers have found that many businesses that are looking for help are instead going with more experienced adults who have lost their jobs.

"I'm not saying it puts me down, it just tells me to keep looking for a job," said 15-year-old Jamal Cheeks.

It's a job in itself that is likely to become more difficult.


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