Teens And Adults Compete For Work

By Brien McElhatten

June 18, 2010 Updated May 10, 2010 at 5:34 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - All is fair in love and war, but what about the workforce?

Summer jobs in the quick service and retail industries have traditionally been the domain of teenagers looking to save money for school or fund summer trips, but the recession has forced those teens to compete against adults who are desperate for work.

"When you have a recession and you're looking for a job, you're competing against everyone else who's looking for a job," explained John Kessler, Director of the Center for Economic Education at IPFW.

Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics pin the number of unemployed 16 to 19 year-olds looking for work at 26%. That's four percent higher than 2009 levels.

That's causing problems for teens like Damian Wood. The Huntington native has applied for 13 different jobs so far, and is still searching.

"It's pretty frustrating because I see a lot of other people getting jobs. I'm just trying to save up money," said Wood.

Wood's mother, Heather, says summer jobs are about more than the money.

"They need to learn responsibility," she said. "Adults who have been laid off are getting the jobs first, that's understandable. But it it making it hard for teens to save for college."

The teen unemployment rate has been steadily increasing over the last five years. Experts say the minimum wage increase has also played a role in limiting the number of positions available to teens.

While young people might face stiff competition from more experienced adult workers, they can remain competitive.

Some of the best strategies for finding work include networking with as many people as you can, brushing up on resume writing and gaining experience in smaller jobs like babysitting and lawn mowing. Those temporary jobs can generate great references and experience.

For more tips on finding a job or even writing a resume, click on the link at the bottom of the page.


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