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Summer Slump

Pete Springer/OPB

How are young job-hunters affecting overall employment in Oregon?

Everyone remembers their first job. Maybe you worked summers waiting tables or picking berries in order to earn money for college. Maybe you got straight on the path to a career at a young age. My first job was at a kiosk in the mall, selling leather wallets during the Christmas rush.

As high schools shut down for the summer, some teenagers are entering the work force for the first time. There’s not nearly as many employed kids today as there were in 1978 when 72 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 19 had jobs. That number has been steadily dropping ever since and last year it was down to about 35 percent. The current economic slowdown means this probably won’t be the year that bucks the downward trend in teenage employment.

Are you a young person looking for a job? What kind of work are you hoping to find? Are you a parent of a teenager? What are you doing to help them find work for the summer? Are you an unemployed adult? How do you see teenage job hunters impacting your chosen field?


  • Art Ayre: State Employment Economist, Oregon Employment Department
  • Alan Liesse: 18-year-old Halsey resident looking for a job
  • Hilary Langley: 18-year-old Starbucks barista
  • M.G. Deveraux: Park manager for Tryon Creek and Milo McIver state parks

Photo credit: bjmmcray / Flickr / Creative Commons

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