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Finding Summer Jobs in Chicago Getting Tough

Posted on June 9, 2008

Finding summer jobs in Chicago may be more difficult for high school and college students to find this year. With the city’s unemployment rate currently above the national average, many adults desperate for work are competing for these positions. Since employers prefer workers with experience, students are being pushed out in favor of those with more on their resumes.

According to a recently released report, two out of every three teenagers will find themselves unable to find Chicago summer jobs this year. The youth employment rate this summer is expected to be around 34.2 percent, which is extremely low. Only about 33.5 percent of teenagers 16 or older held jobs during the first three months of this year. This is the lowest the youth employment rate has been since 1948.


Andrew Sum, the author of the study and an economist at Northeastern University, says that high school students are usually the “last hired and first fired.” With so many unemployed adults compete ting for available positions, it will be particularly difficult to find summer jobs this year.

“Employers prefer people with experience. But how are you ever going to learn how to do a job if you don’t work?” Sum said. “If you don’t work, you don’t get the employability skills. Less work today means less work tomorrow and lower earnings.” This means that teenagers who struggle to find Chicago summer jobs could face a greater problem when they begin searching for full-time positions after graduation.

Usually suburban areas have a greater number of summer jobs available than can be found within the city. This is because there are a fewer number of individuals to compete for positions. Because of this, those who have transportation might want to look outward for a seasonal job.

The fact that three-quarters teenagers could not find jobs last year has created some concern. According to Mayor Richard Daley, summer jobs help to keep teenagers out of trouble and safe by keeping them busy. For this and other reasons, Governor Rod Blagojevich has proposed spending $30 million to create Chicago summer jobs for teenagers, but the plan requires a capital bill to be adopted. At this time the legislation has still not been passed. Considering the time it often takes for such plans to become reality, it could be next summer before the positions are created.

Although it maybe easy for those searching for Chicago summer jobs to become discouraged, they should keep looking. Since many employers who hire teenagers often have a high turnover rate, there is no telling when a position could become available. Since many students lack work experience, they should consider list volunteering and extracurricular activities on their resumes. Many employers will take teenagers with these experiences over those who are not involved in such programs, because they believe these students to be more dedicated towards bettering themselves.

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