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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 4/29/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Youth job market may stay flat

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The economy may be improving, but the job market for teens this summer may remain flat, according to an employment consulting firm.

In its annual summer job outlook for teenagers, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said Monday it expects little change from last summer in terms of employment for youths age 16 to 19.

Last year, employment for those in the 16-19 age range was 1.4 million, which was a decrease of 3 percent from 2012.

“We saw a rebound in summer employment among teens in the wake of the recession, but the number of young people finding summer jobs is still well short of where it was prior to the recession, when an average of 1.7 million 16 to 19-year-olds were joining the ranks of the employed from May through July,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of the Chicago-based outplacement consulting firm.

“The fact that teen employment gains were slightly lower last year indicates that the job market for the nation’s youth is still a ways from full recovery.”

Mr. Challenger added that a contributing factor to the flat market for teen jobs is the weakness among the nation’s retailers, a sector where large portions of teenagers often find summer jobs.

In the Toledo area, jobs aren’t plentiful, but they are available for those teenagers who are aggressive about seeking them out, said Mike Veh, work force manager at OhioMeansJobs Lucas County, formerly The Source of Northwest Ohio, the county’s one-stop job agency.

“I’m seeing a awful lot of places out there that are hiring, places like car washes, the kind of places you’d expect a kid to work,” Mr. Veh said.

“Retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot are both hiring, so there’s some opportunities out there for kids. It’s just a question of, are they going to go out and get the work done and go out and get those jobs? You kind of have to start doing that right now.”

To help area youth find employment, the city of Toledo is holding a Teen Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at SeaGate Convention Centre downtown. More than 2,000 area teens are expected to attend the job fair, where more than a dozen local employers and corporations will provide information and job opportunities to local youth.

For teens still seeking employment this summer, the Toledo Zoo remains one of the area’s biggest youth employers.

Spokesman Andi Norman said the zoo already has a big head start on its hiring this year, but still is looking to hire about 180 workers between now and early June.

“Last year we hired approximately 430 part-time seasonal workers over the entire year. This year for the spring and summer we are looking to to hire about 300, but we already have 120 hires on board,” Ms. Norman said. “And we also have some people already in the hiring process.”

Ms. Norman added: “We are still hiring for spring and summer. So if people are interested they can go to toledozoo.org to check things out. If they’re interested in applying, they need to come to our guest services to pick up an application.”

For those living in the Sandusky area, Cedar Point— another big employer of teens — also is still in hiring mode even though the famed amusement park opens early next month.

“We pretty much hire throughout the year, and we have to find extra staff at end of August for our fall season,” said spokesman Bryan Edwards. “But we are looking for local teens age 14 to 17 to work here this summer.”

The amusement park usually hires about 5,000 seasonal employees, or about one for every five job applications it receives.

“We’ve done the big bulk of our hiring, but we’re still finding spots for people who apply with us,” Mr. Edwards said. “We’re always looking for the best and the brightest.”

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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