The American summer unemployment rate for those between 16 and 24 is the lowest it has been since 1966. Sarah Chaney reports at The Wall Street Journal:
In July, the largest percentage of young working Americans were in leisure-and-hospitality jobs, which includes restaurant work. A sizeable share of youth also worked in retail.
Employers like fast-casual chain Mooyah, based in Plano, Texas, are eager to snatch up workers. Tony Darden, the franchised burger chain’s chief operating officer, said there are fewer teens filling out applications as they opt to pursue education and competitive athletics.
The decline in applications from younger Americans is exacerbating a labor crunch among restaurants, especially for part-time positions. Mooyah franchisees have shifted to recruit more retirees.
“We’re no longer in a situation where we can sit back and wait on applications coming in from people who want to work for us,” Mr. Darden said. “It’s a war for talent.”
The talent built at those summer jobs will stay with kids their entire lives. When I was a kid I had three different jobs: a paper route, cutting lawns, and scooping ice-cream. One person I met at all three was, “the customer.”
At the first job, the paper-route, I didn’t see the customer every day, but I would if I missed a house, got bit by their dog, was late, or needed to collect money. At the second job, cutting lawns, I’d see them if I missed a spot, got stung by a bee from their bee box or needed to collect money. And at the third-one, scooping ice-cream, there was a never-ending line of them out the door, especially on hot summer nights. I met the Little League teams, the vacationers, the daters, and the rest of small town Mattapoisett.
The best feeling in the world was knowing the customer was happy. And I would know that by how I felt inside. If you have children or grandchildren of working age, encourage them to explore and learn by getting a summer or weekend job. They’ll develop valuable skills they can use for a lifetime, and hopefully start making some money to begin compounding for retirement.