Teen Unemployment Rate Could Forecast Summer Job Outlook

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By Catalina Trivino

As high school and college students end their school year, many of them are now searching for summer jobs -- but according to the latest unemployment numbers for young adults in Alabama, it may be a lot harder this summer than last to actually find a job.

Traditional summer jobs are drying up fast as teenagers on summer break run into the same economic troubles as adults.

Compared to last year, the latest job statistics show more teenagers ages 16 to 19 in Alabama are without jobs in 2013. The U.S. Department of Labor reports unemployment at 21.2 percent. Last year it was 17.1 percent.

"We have so many applicants that we usually know who we're going to hire by early March, when people start lining up early filling out applications," Said Director of Golf at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cambrian Ridge, Bryan Reynolds.

And these are just some of the applications from people trying to work at the course. Reynolds, says most of them are students looking for seasonal work. But while the summer months are considered slow for the course, he says at least 25 of his 75 employees are teens on their summer break.

"We hire a lot of high school and college kids to work our bag drop area, guest services area, as well as maintenance. We pick up part time positions on our maintenance side over the summer," Said Reynolds.

One of those employees is 19-year-old James Lofton. He says while he was lucky to find any job this summer. Many of his friends are not so lucky.

"Most of my friends that live in college towns, say Auburn or Tuscaloosa, they're having harder times finding jobs because there's more teens working in those towns obviously and it's going to be a little harder," Said Lofton.

But what about in more rural areas like Greenville? For some, like 17-year old, Antonio Cook, looking for a job is a job in itself. He says he applied to many places five months in advance, but only one called him back.

"A lot of my friends, they've been trying to get jobs and it's been pretty hard for them, too, but one of my friends, he got a job easily and I'm looking at him like so jealous because he gets a job and I'm struggling trying to get one!" Said Cook.

And this struggle is persistent, just like many teens attempt at trying to get hired... saying any job is better than no job at all.

The good news is there are cities in Alabama trying to lower those unemployment numbers. Montgomery has launched its "Dream Generation Summer Jobs" program, employing at least 300 teens and young adults for the summer months.

 



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