(Cross-posted with Triad Job Watch)
Today’s N&R reports many of our teens will be competing with the grown-ups for jobs this summer. With local unemployment at around 5%, the outlook appears grim.
…a lot of the jobs out there are part-time and low-paying.
“I’m looking. I’m just not finding,” said Zac Herrmann, a 17-year-old junior at Grimsley. “A lot of places require you to be 18. I tried Dick’s (Sporting Goods), but you have to be 18 to sell firearms. You have to be 21 to deliver anything. Even (grocery stores) want you to be a certain age to work in the deli or sell alcohol.”
Herrmann and three friends stood in a parking lot on a sunny afternoon and talked about the job market after finishing their Advanced Placement English exam Wednesday.
Elia Feldman, 16, and Jack Woolard, 17, are in business for themselves, doing yardwork in their neighborhoods.
Feldman hopes to land a paying job at the Natural Science Center, where he has worked as a volunteer. But he said that job would only open up if someone else left.
Woolard has looked around, and plans to stick to mowing lawns because the money is better.
“It’s picking up. It always picks up in the spring,” he said. “At one place, I can make $20 in 20 minutes. I just can’t make it every 20 minutes, you know?”
The fourth friend, 17-year-old Luke Blackwood, has high hopes for a summer internship at Red Hat, a high-tech company based in Raleigh.
“I’m 90 percent sure I got the job,” he said. “It’s an internship working with robotic prothesis.”
That’s a long way from the five months he spent at his first job, making food at Penn Station. But it points to a trend.
“It comes down to, it’s always tougher for teens to find summer jobs when the overall job market is tightening up,” Brod said. “And the reason is, teens tend to be the marginal workers. They’re the ones who are brought on last and laid off first. You’re not going to hire an 18-year-old intern if you can’t afford to hire the 26-year-old, full-time employee you really need.
“Of course, the story is different if you’re a teen with excellent skills,” Brod said. “The advice to anyone in any job situation is the more job skills you have, the better. It’s hard to find good-paying jobs without having a lot of skills to bring to bear. … If you have skills, things open up to you in the job market. What we’re finding in the teen job market is a smaller version of this.”
The tighter job market allows summer employers to be choosier.
“Not a whole bunch of people are hiring right now, so people are applying everywhere,” said Varkey Kuruvilla, a supervisor at the Friendly Center McDonald’s. “I just brought on three teens. We have more opportunity to get the cream of the crop.”
Kuruvilla said the restaurant typically adds extra help in the summer, giving year-round employees relief for vacations. The pay varies based on experience, he said, and a teen in a first job can expect to work 20 to 25 hours per week for between $6.25 and $6.50 per hour.
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