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Teens Have Trouble Finding Summer Jobs Video and Audio

The recession affects teen job-seekers and the businesses they frequent. Produced by Zoe Feingold, Michaela Cross, Madeleine Norris, Emily Offit, Chelsie Sweeney.
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Teens Have Trouble Finding Summer Jobs

Text by: Michaela Cross
Media produced by: Zoe Feingold, Michaela Cross, Madeleine Norris, Emily Offit, Chelsie Sweeney

During the recession, the high percentage of unemployed adults has received a lot of press. But they're not the only ones watching their jobs disappear. Students all over the country who have, in past years, relied on summer jobs have found that getting one has become increasingly difficult, and often impossible.

"I think I applied to like 37 places and got three interviews... I followed through and they were never hiring." Taylor Scott, age 17, voices a problem faced by many young adults who hope to make cash during the summer. From clothing stores to convenience stores, older teens and young adults apply to various businesses over the summer in order to make money for anything from cars and clothes to rent.

For many years this has been a mutually beneficial relationship, with businesses hiring young adults for low wages and no benefits, and kids making money and being able to return to school after the summer. But during the recession such jobs have become scarce.

"I have a job but a lot of my friends have been asking me to get them jobs there and stuff but... we can't afford to hire them anymore." Taylor Rocket is twenty years old and works at Wawa. But unlike many her age, Taylor does not go to school over the winter. This, she says, she found to be an advantage. "They're looking for people who aren't school children. They're looking for people who actually work full time. Not a lot of kids do that 'cause they only want to work over the summer or they have school and can't because of homework and sports and stuff, so if you don't go to school you pretty much have a better chance of getting a job."

Because of less cash-ready consumers and more job competition teenage jobs are dwindling. For every teenager with little experience and limited time because of school there are plenty of overqualified adults with plenty of free time who are desperate to find a job, any job. And the amount of jobs available has gone down considerably. So the jobs nobody wanted suddenly become sought after, and students find the applications they send go unanswered.

This may seem only natural because teens often put their money towards relatively frivolous things, but young adults ages 16-25 are some of our best spenders. Teenagers and young adults are far from our biggest wage-earners, however. But no summer jobs means not much money, and not much money means these students are less likely to spend their money on ipods and shoes and more likely to spend it on food, rent and saving for college.

While parents might be proud of their kids for spending more responsibly, a frugal spender is a bad consumer when viewed in context of our current economy. One of America's biggest untapped resources for an economic solution could be young adults and their expendable incomes, when those incomes do exist.

But for now the jobs are just not around, and kids without luck or connections find themselves with little to do this summer. "I practice piano, and watch TV," says Scott, who's been frustrated in his search for jobs. Most students have similar answers.

Until the economy recovers, there's little students can do, but ask. "Someone hire me," says one student, half in jest and half in desperation. "Please..."