Teenager Employment on the Rise in California – First Time since ’79!

Lucas Schwartz, 17, clears an order before delivering shakes to customers as he works his shift at Burgerville on 2200 E. 4th Plain Mills Boulevard in Vancouver, Wash., on Saturday, June 30, 2012. (Chris Dorwart/The Columbian)

While it might not ever return to its peak in 1979, when about 60 percent of teens held jobs, hiring rates in California are the highest they’ve been since the recession.

Teen unemployment in California is the lowest it has been since the recession, according to the California Employment Development Department.

The trend of teens working through their high school years had been on a drop before the recession, with the most obvious reason for not working is the pursuit of educational goals.


When the recession hit and older workers began fighting for any job they could get, it pushed numerous teens out of the employment market.

While the unemployment rate rose for all age groups during the recession, it rose even more for the 16-19-year-old demographic, according to California Employment Development Department data.

Teen employment rates have been limited by the constraints of school schedules and teens lack of work expertise, but economic downturns have always played a role in the capacity of teens to find employment.

However, when the state’s economy began to expand once again, between February 2013 and February 2018, opening up other possibilities for workers, the teen employment rate began to rise, according to Cal EDD. The financial gains also allow giving local government more discretionary spending for summer job programs for teens.

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