Jobs for Teens Soar in June as Economy Reopens, but Fewest Teens Working Since 2010

There’s good news and not-so-good news for U.S. teen employment this year. The number of 16-to-19-year olds who found work in June reached 1.129 million, beating a record that is more than 20 years old.

At the same time, the 4.884 million teens who were working last month represent the lowest total since 2010, when 4.833 million were employed. In June of 2019, 5.941 million teens were working, and in 1999, 7.900 million had jobs.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported the data on Thursday.

The firm also noted that the unemployment rate for teens in June was 24.5%, nearly 10 points higher than the year-ago unemployment rate of 15%. This past April, the unemployment rate for teens was higher than the participation rate, the first time that has happened since Challenger Gray began keeping records. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that teen unemployment could be as high 40% this year.

Commenting on the positive report for June, Challenger Gray Senior Vice President Andrew Challenger said, “This is great news for teens who want to get back to work. The current data suggests many of the jobs returning to the economy due to reopenings are going to teen workers.”

Teen employment is particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The risks involved in typical summer jobs for teens may limit the number of services like fast-food restaurants and retail stores that reopen. Andrew Challenger noted, “We’re not seeing the numbers of employed teens we saw last summer, which was one of the best teen job markets since 2001.”

Last year, 1.737 million teens found jobs in the three-month period between May and July. In May and June of this year, 1.723 million were employed. Since Challenger Gray began tracking this number in 1998, the average number of summer jobs for teens is 1.473 million. Since 2006, the average is 1.368 million.