Summer Jobs Become Increasingly Difficult to Fill

July 28, 2017

lifegaurd-standWith the fall semester right around the corner, there’s only a few more weeks of freedom left for those lucky students who didn’t have to spend their break in class. Of course, those who managed to avoid summer school may have been working at one of the many seasonal jobs that pop up at this time of year. According to employers, however, these jobs have become increasingly difficult to fill recently. For instance, in the spring business owners located along Jenkinson’s Boardwalk on the Jersey Shore held a job fair to fill about 1,200 summer positions. Unfortunately, the fair only drew in 400 people.

“It is getting harder to find students that will work,” said the boardwalk’s director of marketing Toby Wolf. “Each year it’s getting harder and harder. None of us has been able to pinpoint why. Is it a change in society as a whole?” National studies also suggest that attitudes regarding summer work have changed. A Bureau of Labor Statistics survey conducted 40 years ago found that 60 percent of U.S. teenagers either had a job or were intending to find one over the summer. Fast forward to last year and just 35 percent of those surveyed intended to work. All told, only one young person in three either had a job or looked for one this summer.

While this lack of interest has steadily confounded business owners, the situation becomes a little clearer when you look closely at some recent social trends. First of all, teenagers and college students are far from the only people looking for work during the summer. From semi-retirees to recent immigrants, many adults have started to take the jobs that were once the domain of young people. Often this is because they lack the skills that would help them land a better paying job. This fact isn’t lost on teenagers who grew up during a recession and watched as their relatives struggled to find work due to a lack of expertise. As a result, many young people now spend summertime in class or at internships learning the skills they’ll need to jumpstart their careers. So don’t believe the hype that students today don’t work because they’re lazy: many are at school learning how to work better.


  1. Why are older people taking the summer jobs that once belonged to teenagers and college students?
  2. What are the advantages of going to school or an internship rather than getting a summer job? What are the disadvantages?

Source: Karl Vick, “Where Did America’s Summer Jobs Go?,” Time, June 29, 2017