The Recession is not Prejudiced

One has to admit that the recession is not prejudiced. It has left no one out in terms of financial woes, including teens and university students looking for summer jobs. Even though recent employment reports showed an additional 290,000 jobs being filled in April, the largest jump in four years, unemployment amongst 16 to 24 year olds remains at nearly 20 percent. This rate has almost doubled since 2007 when the unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds averaged around 10 per cent.

Economists agree that this summer will be very difficult for that younger generation looking for summer work. For this upcoming 2010 summer, only 45 per cent of the 16 to 24 year old age group is either holding a job or has a summer job lined up, down from 55 per cent last summer. Many university students are returning empty handed when it comes to landing jobs in their studied fields. Instead, many are taking odd job and are babysitting for their summer income.

This also brings with it a concern for graduating students who wonder if they will find work in their field once school is completed. Without summer work experience programs to add to their resume, it could have a lasting effect on their potential job searches, effecting their careers and potential wage earnings. Although many statistical reports show employment rising, the overall rate still remains at 9.9 per cent, making entry-level or seasonal jobs very competitive. Students are realizing that they are not only competing with other entry-level applicants, but they also have other people with 10 or 20 years experience to compete with.

In the past, many summer jobs had been government funded with both state and governments hiring students and teens for jobs in pool and other summer programs. Last year, there was $1.2 billion in stimulus money used to hire over 300,000 disadvantaged teens. This year, however, cuts are increasingly common on both local and state levels and congress has yet to implement any sort of summer job program for 2010. Wall Street has managed to hire many top young college students for the summer, but it still remains 50 percent below its usual hiring numbers since 2009. As well, many other summer positions such as journalism and construction continue to struggle leaving students depending on jobs in these fields, out of luck.

Paid internships are no longer common as the people who used to be in charge of hiring them have, themselves, been laid off. Even unpaid workers pose a cost to companies that they just cannot bear.

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