by Erik White~


With schools nearing the conclusion of another year and students making their summer plans, it’s a great time to look at the job market and employment opportunities for teenagers.

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 33%, according to the most recent data from the Current Population Survey.

With many teenagers looking for their first work experience or a seasonal job that allows them to save some money, they are attracted to certain types of employment. Nearly two-thirds of them find jobs within the Accommodation and Food Services and Retail Trade Industries.  Because of turnover, flexible scheduling, and on-the-job training, these industries often provide great entry opportunities into the workforce.

However, if flipping burgers or stocking shelves doesn’t entice them, there are many other seasonal activities that are looking for workers. Landscaping, resort staff, and summer-activity counselors are three of many more out that are out there.

Summer Job David Gallagher

The unemployment rate for teenagers (16-19 year-olds) was at 22% in Northeast Minnesota in 2013, which was higher than the other planning regions in the state, except for the Twin Cities metro area.  The overall state unemployment rate for teens was at 20% during this time period (2009-2013). That recently dropped to 11% in 2014, one of the lowest teenage unemployment rates in the nation.

When looking at Northeast Minnesota, the spread of teen unemployment rates is quite dramatic. Cook County has a 1% unemployment rate for teens, which is the lowest rate in the state, while Lake, St. Louis, and Aitkin County have teen jobless rates near 25%.  A closer investigation finds that in Cook County, there were only 100 teenagers estimated to be in the labor force, with only one being unemployed. St. Louis County had more than 6,200 teens in the labor force, and about 1,500 of them were unemployed.


NE Teen Labor Force


With low unemployment rates settling over Minnesota and much of the Northeast region, employers will be looking to hire teenagers to fill vacant positions this summer. This trait may have been missing during the recession and its subsequent recovery.

It’s a good time for that summer job search and 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.

For more information, contact Erik White at 218-302-8413


Erik White is the Northeast Regional Analyst for the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Featured image used under Public Domain Creative Commons 1.0.

Summer Job” courtesy of David Gallagher under Creative Commons 2.0.