Teens looking for a job this summer might have a tougher time finding work as opposed to the past few years.
Nationwide, workers ages 16 to 19 are being displaced by adults, many seeking short-term, low-wage jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor's May report.
"Employment for those 16 to 19 fell by 14,000 [nationally] this May," as opposed to an increase of 110,000 jobs in May 2009, said Don Lillywhite, research director for the Virginia Employment Commission.
"Part of the problem is the jobs that normally go to teens -- because of high unemployment numbers -- are being taken by adults," he said. In contrast, employment for adults ages 20 to 24 grew by 270,000 nationally in May.
Lillywhite said this "an unusual spike, considering employment in the same age group dropped by 261,000 in May '09."
In short, he said, teens are being displaced.
"There's still significant hiring, it's just not going to teenagers," he said, which is true especially of non-seasonal jobs.
Among those jobs that remain dominated by teens are swimming pool lifeguard posts.
"We haven't seen [teen displacement] here," said Alice Page, director of Human Resources for the Reston Association. The number of employees working for the Reston Association jumps from 80 to 300-350 in the summer, she said. "We hire teens, [high school] seniors, kids in college primarily for our aquatics and camp programs."
She said these types of jobs, which are mostly part-time, do not appeal to adults who would be focused more on full-time work. These jobs also are occupied by those who are returning summer workers, having worked for the association previously.
Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor in Reston continues to see more teen than adult employees. It normally sees a boom in business from April to September, when more employees are needed.
"We're generally about 90 percent teenage," manager Patrick Ahrens said. "It's more of a part-time job. I would imagine adults are looking for a steady number of shifts, fulltime."
The good news for teens might be that jobs for their age group are easier to find in areas where adult unemployment numbers are lower, Lillywhite said, although he did not cite specific examples.