Teens are poised to fill up the post-pandemic job market this summer.
Many industries, including the restaurant and hospitality sector, may be finding it hard to hire and keep adult workers due to the impact of the pandemic, but younger workers are filling in some of the void, explained CNN.
According to a June 4 U.S. Dept. of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for teens in May was up by 9.6 percent.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, workers in different industries throughout the world found themselves working remotely, furloughed or simply out of work due to pandemic restrictions. Though some have returned to work, others have opted to change fields to find better pay and more job security and some are staying home to take care of children who often could not go to school in-person for over a year.
Some Americans will still be collecting up to $300 per month in federal unemployment benefits through Sept. 6, in addition to state benefits.
These factors have left open positions for teens that employers might not have thought of giving them in previous years, explained Jeff Rogoff, a Denver restaurant owner who spoke to CNN. Even though teens are typically only available for full time work during the summer – around three months – right now they are able to work right away, he said.
Since last March, many of the teens now joining the workforce participated in school from home due to nationwide pandemic-related school closures.
“It’s my first job ever, actually,” said 16-year-old Sophia Shannon, as quoted by KRQE news in Albuquerque, NM. “We all are like ‘We’re out of COVID and we’re old enough to work now, maybe we should do that.’”
Though U.S. workers under 20 can be paid a lower minimum wage than adults during their first 90 days of employment, this year’s teen labor force could benefit from overall increased wages.
“The data for the last [two] months [suggests] that the rising demand for labor associated with the recovery from the pandemic may have put upward pressure on wages,” said the Dept. of Labor Statistics.