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July 09, 2002
Teens Shunning Summer Jobs
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e, you may be getting a Dell, but you're not even looking for a job.

More and more teenagers are spending their summers in school or hanging out by the pool or shopping mall instead of flipping burgers, mowing yards, or holding any of the other traditional vacation jobs, according to the Associated Press.

This summer, the AP reports, economists expect a record percentage of teens to shun the workplace.

Just 56.9 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds worked or looked for a job last summer - the lowest percentage since 1964, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The AP notes that the rate has been declining steadily since 1978, when it peaked at 69.1 percent.

In May, 46 percent of teens were in the work force, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. That's down from 47.6 percent in May 2001 and the lowest since 1970.

School appears to be a major reason a smaller percentage of youths want jobs, according to John Stinson, a Bureau of Labor Statistics economist. More are spending summer in school because of increasing academic standards and a calendar change to year-around school in some districts. Then there's the increased competition for colleges, resulting in more students taking summer classes to build their resumes and skills.

Last year, 31 percent of teens were enrolled in school in July, the peak month of summer employment. In 1994, just 19.5 percent of teens were in school in July.

Americans' increasing affluence also appears to be keeping teens out of the workforce. Both parents commonly work in today's households, meaning more money is available for teens' spending habits. The median U.S. household income is $42,148 compared with $31,397 in 1967, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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