Teens Join Workforce as Employers Try to Fill Jobs

Even as adults dropped out of the workforce, teenagers jumped in — and cashed in, Business Insider is reporting.

Unemployment for those 16-19-year-olds hit 32% in April 2020. But now the teens have seen their lowest unemployment rate since the 1950s.

According to the news outlet, greater opportunities opened up for teens as employers struggled to find workers.

Many employers had raised their wages in an effort to get adults back to work. And teens have taken advantage of those incentives, according to Business Insider.

During the second quarter of this year, median weekly nominal earnings for teens surged 12.3%, compared to only 0.6%  for all workers. 

“Employers need people,”  Dhillon Patel, 17, of Westfield, New Jersey, said.

Patel worked as a junior tennis pro at a local tennis and swim club. He said when he was first looking for a job the club was understaffed and still adding people midway through the summer.

Dana Graham, 18, of Silver Spring, Maryland, had worked as a restaurant cashier, but did not enjoy it.

She ended up taking a job as a lifeguard where she earned more money.

In July, The Associated Press reported that an acute labor shortage, especially at restaurants, tourism and entertainment businesses, has made teenage workers highly popular again.

“We’re very thankful they are here,” said Akash Kapoor, CEO of Curry Up Now.

Fifty teenagers worked during the summer at his five San Francisco-area Indian street food restaurants, up from only about a dozen last year.

“We may not be open if they weren’t here,” he said. “We need bodies.”

Business Insider noted that while many teens traditionally leave their jobs after the summer, the falloff rate hasn’t been as steep this year.

About 98,000 jobs have been lost for teens since July, less of a decline than in years past. 

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