Nearly Two-thirds of Teens Ages 13-17 Plan to Work This Summer Despite Double-digit Teen Jobless Rate

A new national survey of teens released today by Junior Achievement USA (JA) found that 61 percent of 13-17 year-olds plan to get a summer job this year. Teens' optimism about finding summer employment contrasts with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) March 2015 employment report which said that 17.5 percent of youths ages 16-19 are currently unemployed (seasonally adjusted), compared to 5.5 percent unemployment among the general population. Additionally, last July, the month during which youth unemployment is typically at its lowest, the BLS found 14.3 percent unemployment among 16-24 year-olds.

When asked about how sure they were that they would be able to find a job this summer, four-in-five teens who plan to work said they were "extremely sure" or "somewhat sure" they would be able to find employment. In comparison, only 20 percent of teens surveyed this year said they had a summer job last year.

Of those teens who said they did not plan to get a job this summer, the primary reasons were having too many activities planned (27 percent), and, being away for the summer at camp or elsewhere (26 percent). Only 1 percent of teens said they did not think they would be able to find summer employment because there are "not enough jobs in my community." No respondents said they would be unable to find summer employment due to not having the skills required. In contrast, according to ManpowerGroup's 2014 Talent Shortage Survey, nearly half (47 percent) of employers said that "lack of technical competencies" is among the top five reasons they have difficulty filling open positions in their organizations.

Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA, noted, "It is encouraging that most teens are optimistic they'll be able to find jobs this summer. A summer job not only provides a teen with money for college or other expenses, but also provides important real-world work experience that can be invaluable later in the teen's career."

Junior Achievement (JA) prepares students for success in the world of work through experiential programs, typically delivered by volunteer mentors from the local business community. JA programs provide kids with the opportunity to learn and apply important work-readiness skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.