Fifteen-year-old Mary Grover said she is enjoying nearly every aspect of her first year as a summer lifeguard at the Ashland Optimist Pool.

However, Grover is one of a smaller and smaller number of teens who are taking summer employment as the number of jobs – and teenagers who want them – is shrinking.

There has been a bigger shift in the past two decades away from summer jobs and the number of teens getting them has plummeted, according to a recent report by Paul Harrington, an economist at Drexel University.

According to Department of Labor statistics, 37% of 16-19-year-olds held a job last July, the month where more teens work than any other. But that number in the 1970s and 1980s was about 60% – nearly half of what it is today.

Harrington says those numbers might be puzzling in a labor market that has been very good in the past year – but easily explained.

“There are fewer applications from teenagers today as it is less of a norm for them to work than it was 15-20 or even 30-years ago,” Harrington reported.

~ There’s more to this story in today’s Journal ~

By Bruce Wallace