In April, the Department of Labor reported 5.7m unemployed job seekers and 10.1m job openings. The shortage is helping pump wages, especially for teens, whose median weekly summer pay rose 7% between 2019 and 2022, more than any other age group.
In May, 36.8% of US teens were working or seeking work, up from a pre-pandemic low of 32.5% in 2014, but far from the consistent 50%+ seen up until 2001.
Economists attribute the dip to priority shifts — e.g., schooling, unpaid internships, and extracurriculars, according to WSJ.
One place these trends are noticeable: Pools and beaches, where lifeguard shortages are leading to limited openings.
- Seattle’s lifeguard staffing levels are so dire, the city has raised the starting wage to $21+/hour.
BTW: Nebraska had America’s highest teen employment rate in summer 2022, at 65.9%. Hawaii had the lowest, at 23.7%, and we’re honestly not sure who deserves bragging rights.
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