Front Page Talking Points


Teens benefit from wider choice of better-paying summer jobs


1.gifShare a summer activity photo or article and your reaction.

2.gifSummarize other coverage about or appealing to your age group.

3.gifDescribe an ideal summer job and tell why.

Students seeking vacation work had a wider choice of opportunities this season, and still do in many areas as employers scramble to find temporary workers. Open positions nationwide for cashiers, stock clerks, baristas, landscapers, valets, lifeguards, counselors, ride operators and other jobs far exceed the number of applicants — even at up to $16 an hour for entry-level work. "They know they can get competitive pay," says a café owner in Park City, Utah, who pays young teens $14 an hour plus tips — nearly double that state's minimum wage. In New Jersey, a new law expands working hours for teens aged 14-17 – giving employers "more flexibility in their scheduling at this most important time of the season," a business group leader says.

Summer jobs provide a taste of adulthood and have been a rite of passage for generations. They pay off with more than wages. Young workers gain confidence, skills and references, while learning how to use income, manage time, cooperate with colleagues and adjust to being managed. Some adolescents meet customers from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds.

Labor market researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia predicted in May that an average of 33% of youths ages 16-19 will be employed each month from June through August, the highest rate since the summer of 2007. Still, the level of teen employment isn't near what it used to be. In August 1978, half of U.S. teens were working. A decade-long slide began around 2000 as adult full-time hiring also dropped steeply. Now, demand is so high that some hospitality industry employers sponsor work visas for foreign students.

Teen says: "It was a little crazy. It went from, 'Am I going to have something this summer?' to having four opportunities and, 'Which one am I going to take?'" – Botanical garden intern Lara Beckius, 19, Avon, Conn.

Employer says: "Finding staff that are eager to fill hospitality roles remains a challenge. But it is great to see the return of our international students, as well as returning college students for the summer season." – Cindy D’Aoust of Cape Resorts Realty Group, Cape May, N.J.

Recruiter says: "We have this big gap in the market now. There are no takers for jobs that are typically given to teens for pocket money." -- Julia Pollak, economist at ZipRecruiter

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2023

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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.