More than seven in ten US teens are jobless this summer, representing a sharp increase in teen unemployment since 2000.
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The drop in teens holding summer jobs isn’t entirely their own fault, though. As a result of a cultural and economic shift, more teens are choosing to spend their summers in academic programs or at specialty camps for sports, music or the performing arts. Teens are also facing competition from older workers, immigrants and college graduates who are taking lower-skill jobs as they struggle to find work themselves in the ever-struggling economy.
Many teens worry that not having summer work experience will hinder their chances of getting into a competitive college, and eventually their success in the post-grad job market.
So what can you do as a parent? If your teen is ready to enter the working world, help him prepare for it (these tips might help). But if he is having trouble finding a job, there is always something you can do to improve his confidence and teach responsibility. Pay him to do more mature chores, like grocery shopping or weeding the backyard. Encourage him to put up flyers in local stores for babysitting, coaching or tutoring.
But if your kid simply can’t find work, try not to panic. They’ll have lots of opportunities to make themselves stand out to colleges and future employers. If they’re young enough, they can even go to finance camp!
In the meantime, though, there are never too many books to read.