Higher adolescent employment rate fills workforce gaps

CLEVELAND – There is an upheaval in the job market. For the first time since 2008, a third of American teenagers are employed during the summer.

Many of them are like Grace Kelley, who works at Honey Hut Ice Cream.

“I have been working here since I was 15,” she said. Kelley keeps coming back because she loves having a job she can do and “ice cream is my favorite food”.

Kelley is not alone.

“We get a lot of high school kids of course,” said Bruce Page, owner of Honey Hut Ice Cream.

Many adolescents and 20-year-olds find employment in the restaurant industry. Since the lifting of pandemic blockages, the restoration has struggled to bounce back. Conversations about a better pay don’t always spill over to a summer job seeker.

“The minimum wage in Ohio is around $ 9 an hour and they get maybe about $ 2 an hour in tips, so that’s okay for a summer job,” he said. declared Page.

As of May of this year, there were over a million vacancies across the country – positions filled by Kelley and other ice cream shop employees.

“Otherwise, we could cut a day,” Page said. “We wouldn’t be open on Mondays for example.”

Ice cream may seem like a seasonal industry, but Page said once school begins its enrollment shrinks, which doesn’t help during the hot late summer months. He tries to be flexible with employees who still want to work and go to school.

“(We) let them take their days off,” he said. “Don’t overwork them.”

But for many industries, workers who have returned for the summer may not be replaced once school resumes.

The number of jobs is increasing in the United States. Conversely, unemployment too. The national figure is 5.9%.

Kelley said the growing number of workers his age says a lot about his generation.

“People my age are some of the hardest working people I know,” she said.

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