NBC News, July 2
As restrictions ease and customers return, workers with child care responsibilities or concern about Covid-19 have been hanging back — making room for an army of teen workers to fill labor shortage gaps this summer.
More than 32 percent of teens have a summer job this year, the highest since 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employment is ticking up slowly, with 850,000 jobs added in June, beating expectations of 700,000. But hiring remains touch and go, and the unemployment rate notched up 0.1 percent to 5.9 percent.
American consumers, flush with stimulus savings and keen to shake off their lockdown cabin fever, are returning in force — but the U.S. is currently facing a record shortage of workers, with 9.3 million open jobs, leaving restaurants, stores and bars short staffed just as traffic ramps up. While businesses typically prefer to hire workers with more experience — and who aren’t as likely to quit when school is back in session — they have little choice but to embrace the teen spirit.
Some employers say the only applicants who are showing up for interviews are teenagers. So they have no other choice than to hand them a uniform, stick them behind a cash register or counter, and train them on the spot.