Good Graph Friday: The kids need jobs

March 18, 2011 at 8:13 AM ET

Bureau of Labor Statistics /
Unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds, seasonally adjusted.

Here’s what we know about summer jobs: The pay is low, the work can be unrewarding and, all too often, there's an unflattering uniform involved.

Oh, and they're really, really hard to find.

The unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds is always higher than other age groups, but things have been especially tough these last few years.

Nearly one in four teens who want to work don't have a job, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the unemployment rate for that age group has improved slightly in recent months, it remains far above the overall unemployment rate of 8.9 percent.

The situation is much worse for African-American teens, who faced an unemployment rate of 38.4 percent in February. Unemployment for black teens has spiked close to 50 percent twice in the past couple of years.

Even though the overall job market is improving, the summer job market for teens is still expected to be quite difficult. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said summer hiring last year was the worst since 1949, and things aren't expected to be much better this year.

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