The Strategist

Shortage of adult workers in the US results in record teenage hiring

07/06/2021 - 03:32

The proportion of teenagers among those hired in the US in June was several times higher than in the same period in previous years. The shortage of adult workers has given teenagers a rare opportunity to take on higher-paying jobs.

The shortage of adult workers in the US has created a more lucrative local job market for teenagers, reports the Financial Times.

Among those hired in June, 36% of people were teenagers, compared to an average of 10% for the same period in 2017-2019, the newspaper notes, citing an analysis of data by Gusto. Fewer US teenagers are out of work this summer than at any other time in the past 60 years, the paper points out, according to data from the US Department of Labor.

Economists point to the rare opportunity for teens to enter higher-paying jobs typically held by adults, the FT writes. Salaries of teenagers working in the service sector have jumped 13% in the past two months, the paper notes.

The number of working American teenagers had been declining for decades before the pandemic amid a rise in the popularity of resume-helpful volunteer work and college-preparation programs, the FT writes. But the coronavirus has deprived teenagers of many of these opportunities, or put them into an online format.

Some teenagers were attracted by unusually high salaries and generous incentives from employers, writes the FT. In addition, young people who were already working lost their jobs en masse last summer when the leisure and hospitality sectors that usually employ them were hit by coronavirus-related restrictions. This has made many of them want to find work this summer.