No Progress for America’s Teens in 2013 Teen Summer Job Market

by | Sep 12, 2013 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Friday’s Employment Situation report for August 2013 revealed that the U.S. employers added 169,000 net new payroll jobs in August. The revised payroll employment estimates for the entire summer (June-July-August) revealed a gain of 445,000 jobs. Unfortunately, none of these payroll jobs were obtained by nation’s teens (16-19). Despite the fact that both the Center for Labor Market Studies and national job placement firm (Challenger-Gray-Christmas) had earlier projected that teen would benefit with improved summer job market. This development unfortunately did not occur.
The teen employment ratio in this summer averaged only 26.5 percent, down slightly from its value in the prior year on seasonally adjusted basis. This employment-population ratio was tied with last year’s third lowest in the nation’s history. The last four summers have been marked by the four lowest summer employment rate for the nation’s teens since the end of World War II. In early June, the Center for Labor Market Studies had predicted that the teen summer employment-rate would be 27.4%. The Center’s prediction turned out to be too optimistic. The predicted teen summer employment-population ratio was nearly a percentage points above the actual summer employment rate that was published on Friday’s job report.
There are frequent remarks that have been made in the popular news media that a growing number of teenagers opt not to work during the summer, but instead to enroll in school or other leisure oriented activities. Our research work at the Center reveals the opposite: we find that many more teens want jobs today. In June-July 2013, there were 1.814 million unemployed, .693 million underemployed, and 1.244 million hidden unemployed teens in the U.S. The combined pool of unemployed, underemployed, and hidden employed teens was more than 3.72 million in summer of 2013. This combined pool, which we call the labor force underutilized pool, accounted for 44% of the adjusted teen labor force (official labor force + the hidden unemployed).
The 44% labor force underutilization rate of U.S. teens was the largest among all age groups and was more than three times as high as that for the all workers 20+. What is more disturbing is the fact that the labor force underutilization rate of African-American and low-income teens (16-19) was more than 64% in the summer of 2013. These rates are representative of a very Great Depression for African-American and lowincome teens. These loses do not only affect them in the summer but will haunt them over the next few years of their life.
Center for Labor Market Studies
Phone: 617.373.2242