Eleven percent fewer teenagers were added to payrolls this summer, but overall more 16- to 19-year-olds held jobs this summer than any time in the last six years.
Teenage employment grew by 1.16 million during May, June and July this year, according to government data analyzed by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That was 11 percent lower than 2014, when 1.297 million teens were hired during the summer.
While summer hiring declined this year, 5.696 million 16- to 19-year-olds were employed this summer, the highest number since 5.962 million in July 2009.
The raw number growth in teenage employment “suggests that more seasonal jobs in retail, entertainment and leisure, and food service are being taken by teens, which could bode well for their employment figures going forward,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Challenger said that even with the recent gains, employment among 16- to 19-year-olds may never again reach the peak participation rate of 72 percent in July 1978, when more than 10 million teens were working. The current employment participation rate is 41 percent.
“Fewer teenagers are seeking employment opportunities, most of them by choice. More are focused on academics, volunteering or jobs that fly under the radar of most employment measures,” Challenger said.
He also noted that a growing percentage of school districts are using year-round schedules, eliminating long summer breaks.