Alicia Modestino, NULac Core Faculty member and Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Economics at Northeastern, was quoted in an article published in the New York Times on May 27, 2022, discussing the strongest job market since 2007 for teen employment this summer. While teen employment had plummeted in the summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has since rebounded and expanded in light of older workers leaving customer-service jobs due to COVID-19-related health concerns. Job openings are primarily in retail, hospitality, restaurants, and tourism. As a labor economist, Modestino was quoted stating that “Employers suddenly rediscovered teenagers”.
Due to the strong job market, conditions are favorable to workers. At many places of employment, especially in larger retail companies, higher pay and greater flexibility are available for younger workers. Some employers also offer professional training opportunities, while restaurants are increasingly adding “service charges” to bills in order to provide a steady income for servers rather than allowing customers to decide the amount to tip. Summer youth-employment programs in major cities such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago also mitigate the disadvantage that students from low-income families often face in finding and commuting to jobs.