As Alice Cooper once sang, “SCHOOOOOOOOOL’S OUT…FOR…SUMMER!” High school students’ hectic schedules may get some relief, but businesses continue posting “help wanted” signs. This creates the potential for summertime employment for teens.

It’s good timing for Minnesota employers. It’s been difficult to hire with Minnesota’s unemployment rate staying below 4% for several months.  This leaves fewer available workers for employers to pick from.

Teenagers provide a welcome bump in the available labor force across the state, with Minnesota having the seventh-highest labor force participation rate for teenagers in the country, at 48.5%. Nationally, the teen labor force participation rate is about 34%, according to data from the Current Population Survey.

Map 1 Labor Force 16-19

It is not too surprising that teens are most likely to work in the accommodation and food services, and retail trade industries — jobs related to tourism, restaurants, and shopping — which together account for about two-thirds of jobs held by teenagers.

However, data show that teens also find jobs in other industries, such as:

  • health care and social assistance, which includes child care services, nursing and residential care facilities;
  • other services, which includes personal care, pet care, civic and social organizations, and repair and maintenance;
  • arts, entertainment and recreation, which includes amusement parks, golf courses, and sports teams;
  • and public administration, which includes local government services.

Prospects for teenagers finding jobs this summer are better than in recent years, primarily because of an improving economy and tighter labor market,” said Oriane Casale of DEED’s Labor Market Information Office.

“With strong employment growth in both the retail and the accommodation and food service sectors in March, this might be a great summer for teens in Minnesota to get some work experience and earn their first paychecks,” she said.

Map 2 Unemployment 16-19While teen rates may seem high in comparison to low unemployment rates overall, the state’s 11.3% unemployment rate for teens was the sixth lowest nationally in 2014, with only Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska having lower unemployment rates for that age group. The new figures are an improvement from teen jobless rates that surged to more than 20% during the recession.

DEED offers services and programs to help teens find work. The agency’s job bank lists nearly 84,000 jobs, many of them suitable for teenagers. Job opportunities also are available through DEED’s youth employment, training and education programs.

This week, iSpeak is featuring a series of articles about teen employment in Minnesota:

There may be no more pencils, no more books, and no more teacher’s dirty looks.  But there’s plenty of work out there for teens!

Featured image courtesy of AYEA’s Youth Employment in Parks Program under Creative Commons 2.0.

7 thoughts on “School’s Out! Now What?

  1. I think this article presents the issue very well. It is important to consider this population as very moldable – therefore experience gained at this period in life is critical to what they choose for their futures oftentimes.


  2. By working summer jobs as a teen, I was able to build up my resume to be able to achieve better jobs in college when it was more important to have higher wages. Summer jobs also help teens start building the background needed to apply for college loans as well as teach them money management skills. The jobs available to teens in my small hometown usually were the jobs that most adults didn’t want to do, so summer jobs helped to teach me the importance of doing things that I may not want to do in order to achieve a goal (usually a paycheck). Overall, I think there are many benefits to summer jobs for teens, and I am very happy that the outlook is so positive in Minnesota for teens.


  3. As many of the other commenters have noted, summer employment can be very beneficial for teens. Memories I made at my high school jobs still make me laugh. It was a terrific experience and I learned so much. I think we’re all well aware of the knowledge one can gain from their first job regarding how to manage money, file taxes, be on time, and deal with co-workers and management. However, one thing I don’t hear about as often is the impact employment might have on the teenage employee’s confidence and self-concept. It meant a lot to me to be able to contribute to my family in such a tangible way… and to see how the work and time I put in to my job resulted in a corresponding amount of money at the end of the week. It was a great experience in so many ways and I’m very impressed that Minnesota has such a high labor force participation rate for teenagers!


  4. I think summer jobs for teens are really important. Most teens don’t have the kind of structure during the summer during the school year, and that can lead to boredom. A part-time job not only alleviates boredom and provides some extra money, but it gets teens into the work field and they can start building work experience that future employers will be looking for. A summer job can also help someone discover skills and interests they didn’t know they had.


  5. I think that it is important for this age to group to get work experience to help them later in their lives. I think that this age group often gets overlooked and that it is great that we are talking about this. I am glad that there are so many opportunities for teens now.


  6. Absolutely. It’s good to see that there is more than just a paycheck out there for teens. A wide variety of summer jobs only serves to present the possibilities that are out there!


  7. I think it is great for teens to have a summer job and get in the job market. I think by getting involved in different areas teens can see what kind of field they have an interest in joining either after high school or college. It is great to get the experience in many different areas while your young!


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