Teens have the upper hand in the hot U.S. summer job market


When hiring for the general manager of Layne’s Chicken Fingers, a fast food chain in Texas, Garrett Reed usually looks for people with 7 to 10 years of work experience. But this year he eventually promoted 19-year-old Jason Cabrera with a salary and bonus of $50,000.

“Even my parents thought I was too young to be a general manager, but I would not let age be any factor,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera is one of them 5.9m Young people between the ages of 16 and 19 are taking advantage of the shortage of adult workers to find jobs this summer. According to an analysis of US labor force data by Gusto, a small business payroll service provider, in June, teenagers accounted for 36% of the total number of new hires, while the average ratio for the same period from 2017 to 2019 was 10%.

“Experienced workers, they disappeared during Covid,” Reid said. “This forces us to accept young people who can come forward and take up these roles.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, fewer U.S. teenagers were unemployed this summer than at any time in the past 60 years. data Shows how young people can seize what economists call rare opportunities to fill high-paying positions usually reserved for adults.

According to a survey by Gusto, the wages of teenagers working in the service industry have risen by 13% in the past two months.

This trend is part of a greater transfer of power between low-wage workers and their employers during the pandemic. Due to continued concerns about the Covid crisis, lack of childcare services, and temporary expansion of unemployment insurance, many one-time attendants, cashiers and Uber drivers are unable to re-enter the labor market, and reopening companies are eager to hire employees.

Those who are willing to return to work are using competition to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

Companies that have traditionally avoided hiring minors due to the state’s requirements for employment permits and limited working hours have already accepted them, because older, more experienced workers are still in short supply.

Gusto economist Luke Pardue said: “Youths are synonymous with the recruitment game. They can determine their own employment conditions.”

In the decades before the pandemic, the number of working American teenagers steadily declined as volunteer work and college preparation programs to build resumes became more popular. But Northeastern University economist Alicia Sasser Modestino (Alicia Sasser Modestino) said that the new crown virus (Covid) eliminated many of these opportunities or forced them to go online.

Last summer, young people who were already working were unemployed in large numbers because the leisure and hospitality industries that normally employ them were frustrated by the restrictions of the new crown virus. This makes many of them eager to work this summer, while others are attracted by unusually high wages and the generous incentives that employers have pending to attract workers.

Modestino said: “Young people are ready to join and fill these jobs, and employers are lowering their requirements out of desperation.”

Alonzo Soliz, the owner of a tropical smoothie coffee shop in Cedar Park, Texas, said that about 40 of his 45 employees are teenagers, and he is still looking for more employees.

“They came in, they asked for $10, $12 per hour, no weekends, and they had no experience,” Solitz said. “The difficulty is that many times we have to pay them because they will jump next door for an extra dollar.”

Last week, Soliz interviewed a teenager in a shift leadership position at a pizzeria. He offered what he thought was a competitive offer—about $15 an hour, plus paid vacation and tuition reimbursement of up to $2,000—but never received a response. He suspected that she got a better offer.

However, the stressful labor market has not raised the wages of all youths equally.Young people of color still compare High The unemployment rate is compared with that of white teenagers. Padu said that many people are also rejected geographically because low-paying jobs first return to suburbs and resort towns, and the proportion of white people in urban areas is too high.

For those who have already cashed in, their windfall may be limited. With the expiration of expanded unemployment benefits and the resumption of face-to-face schooling, adult workers are expected to re-enter the labor market in September.

But some business owners want to keep their youngest workers. Toni Reese, owner of Running Lab, a boutique in Brighton, Michigan, said that although the store had never hired anyone under the age of 30 before the pandemic, the store had hired 5 teenagers this summer and was looking for more people.

“They are our most hungry employees, and they are fun,” Reese said.



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