Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

May 8, 2014

BILL STANCZYKIEWICZ: Summer job picture brightens for Indiana teenagers

Website: 74% of employers plan hiring seasonal workers

As the national and state employment markets continue improving, more Indiana teenagers should be able to find a job this summer.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.8 million teens found formal summer employment last year, an increase of 13 percent compared with 2012. The number of teens who wanted a summer job but were not able to find one declined by 17 percent. In addition, this positive trend does not include the teenagers who created their own jobs via baby-sitting, mowing lawns, pet sitting and other do-it-yourself employment.

According to Butler University economics professor Bill Rieber, this summer’s labor market is even stronger. “Unemployment in the U.S. is down to 6.7 percent, and in Indiana unemployment is down to 6.1 percent,” Rieber said. “Teenage employment should follow the overall trend in the nation and Indiana.”

Especially since the employment sectors that typically hire teens are expanding. For example, nearly half of the jobs held by teenagers last summer were in the categories of “leisure and hospitality” and “retail trade,” two of the fastest growing segments in this year’s economy.

This bright forecast is confirmed by a national survey of employers conducted by the online employment site, Snagajob.com. The survey found that 74 percent of employers anticipate hiring summer workers. Of those, only 14 percent expect fewer summer job openings compared with a year ago. The average summer wage in the Midwest is expected to be $10.43 per hour.

The survey revealed that 74 percent of employers hiring summer help expect to have all of their positions filled by the end of May. Instead of waiting until the end of the school year, teens need to look for work now.

The Snagajob survey also discovered who employers want to hire. The top attributes sought by the hiring manager: a positive attitude and a willingness to work.

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