Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Hiring Remains Cool for Oregon Teens

Have you noticed fewer new, young faces helping you at local businesses this summer? If so, you're not imagining things. The number of workers ages 14 to 18 who found jobs during the summers of the past four years was nearly one-half of what it was before the recession, accelerating a long-term downward trend in teens landing summer jobs. Teens who do find new jobs in the summer are finding them in the traditional industries of food services, agriculture, and retail trade.

Although teen hiring has been slow to rebound as the economy recovers, things could be improving. The first half of 2013 brought job growth in accommodation and food services, the sector that hires the most teens during the summer. Still, the unemployment rate for Oregonians ages 16 to 19 was 23.3 percent in 2012, nearly three times the rate for the overall labor force.

Although the odds seem stacked against them, teenagers are able to find summer work. Oregon employers hired roughly 28,400 new workers ages 14 to 18 in July, August, or September of 2012. Teens are having better luck finding jobs in agriculture. Summer teen hiring for crop production and in support activities for agriculture and forestry rebounded and surpassed pre-recession levels. These industries largely escaped the employment losses felt by the rest of the economy during the recession.

To a large extent, teen hiring is driven by economic conditions, but there is also a general downward trend in teen hiring and teens working during the summer. Teenagers now make up 2.0 percent of Oregon's summer workforce, down from 3.5 percent a decade ago.

For more information about summer employment for teens, check out the original article from our state employment economist, Nick Beleiciks. You can also find more data about Oregon workers by gender and age groups at

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