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June 10, 2003
Summer Hiring: The Worst in 40 Years, Report Says
Teenagers are facing the bleakest summer jobs market in nearly 40 years, according to a new report released by Northeastern University.

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"Despite the progress we made in the 1990s, this nation's teens have been bumped down the queue by out-of-work older adults and college grads entering the job market," says Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies and lead author of the report. "It promises to be a long, hot, jobless summer for American teenagers."

In this new report, the prediction for the summer of 2003 is even more depressed than last, which was thought to be the worst in decades, given additional state and federal cuts to jobs programs that employ teens during the summer months, according to the report. Tracking the employment rates over the past three years during both winter and early spring months, the researchers found that the employment rate of teens between January and April 2003 had actually declined several percentage points to 37.3 percent, eight percentage points below that for the same four month period two years ago.

Summer months typically provide job opportunities for the nation's teens as many high school and college students enter the labor market during their summer school vacations. Because of demographic trends, however, during the past few years close to two million additional teens entered the labor market in search of summer employment. Those additional job seekers combined with the national recession of 2001 and the jobless recovery of 2002 have created a significant glut in the market. This summer's teenagers, the report asserts, will face serious difficulties looking for work as they have during the past two summers, the worst rates in nearly 40 years.

The researchers also found that employment declines among teens were most severe among men, and that both high school and college students as well as teens not currently enrolled in school all experienced dramatic declines. According to the report, nearly all of the progress made in employment levels among teens during the late 1990s was wiped out over the past two years. Given what's happened so far in 2003, the researchers predict that the teen employment rate this summer may reach a new post-World War II low.

The report was funded by the National League of Cities.

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