Youth summer employment at lowest in decades

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:38 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:44 PM EDT
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MIDWAY, Ga. (WTOC) - High schoolers have often provided an important source of work during the summer months. But now, new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that youth summer employment is at its lowest level decades and that trend is expected to continue.

The manager at The Pizza Peddler in Midway says they don’t have as many high school staff members as they once did. They say it makes it a little tougher on the staff they do have.

Manager Shannon Lawson says they’re lucky to have a handful of teens who have worked there for several years, but it’s become more difficult to hire as many high schoolers as they normally would.

This isn’t uncommon, the U.S. Census Bureau says summer employment of teens aged 14 to 18 has trended downward over the last 20 years.

Quarterly workforce indicators show between 2019 and 2020, that same age group of workers declined by 15 percent in the summer. For small businesses like The Pizza Peddler, it’s creating staffing difficulties.

“It’s a little hard on us. We have to overpay some of the adults sometimes to get them to stay longer. Not that the teenagers don’t eventually move up to that pay, but to start with that training and learning the business, it makes a big difference on the hours that everybody works,” Lawson said.

Lawson also says summer jobs can provide important learning experiences for teens.

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