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Outlook for teen summer jobs less gloomy

Anika Anand writes: There may be reason for teens to be optimistic about the summer job market, despite all the gloomy predictions of young people spending their summer playing video games in the basement all day, according to a new report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.The number of 16- to 19-year-olds who were employed in May increased by 71,000 from the previous month, acco

Anika Anand writes: There may be reason for teens to be optimistic about the summer job market, despite all the gloomy predictions of young people spending their summer playing video games in the basement all day, according to a new report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

The number of 16- to 19-year-olds who were employed in May increased by 71,000 from the previous month, according to the most recent non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares to an increase of just 6,000 jobs added from April to May of last year.

Although the number of jobs added in May is significantly less than the 125,000 new teen jobs that have been added in May, on average, over the past 10 years, the early bump could be enough to boost confidence that more teens than expected will land a job in June.

But even if there is a bump in June’s job numbers, we may still be playing catch-up. About 4,177,000 teens were employed in May, according to the non-seasonally adjusted BLS numbers. That compares to 4,336,000 who were employed at the same time last year. 

Nearly one in four teens who wants a job doesn’t have one, according to the BLS. This summer teens will have to compete with out-of-work adults whose jobs are increasingly threatened by the recession.

Teen employment is the lowest it has been since the end of World War II, according to research from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northern University.