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Prospects improving for teens looking for summer jobs

A rising tide floats all boats, but does the adage hold for when applied to the improving economy and the prospect of summer jobs for teenagers?

The answer, it appears, is it depends.

The results of a summer hiring survey out this month of 1,000 employers by the Snagajob web site found there should be strong job growth this summer. Of those surveyed, 78 percent said they expect to hire the same number of hourly summer employees, or more, compared to last year. Overall hourly wages are also expected to rise to an average of $11.52 this summer, compared to the 2014 estimate of $10.39.

And according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement consultancy firm, employment for those between 16 and 19 is currently at its highest non-summer level since 2009. The figure is expected to increase once school lets out for the summer.

But that doesn't mean teenagers looking for summer jobs will have it easy. There is still a lot of competition from other teens, as well as from older workers trying to stay financially afloat after the recession with entry-level jobs traditionally filled by teens.

"Part of the reason it's so challenging for a teen to get a job is that the rebounding economy gave adults more jobs," Patty Huerta, executive director of Escondido Education COMPACT, which offers employment training for teenagers and young adults, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"If you go through a drive-thru at McDonald's, you are not necessarily helped by a 16-year-old, but a 38-year-old with three kids at home."

But the improving economy is also moving older workers up into higher-skilled and better-paying positions, says John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which is creating more jobs for teens.

"It is key for young people who want to work this summer to not wait until the final school bell to begin the job search," Challenger said in a statement. "If you have not started talking to employers yet, now is the time to do so."

And while teenagers might have to scramble for the available summer jobs, it could be worse, as many teens appear to be opting out from summer work in favor of .

"It is not that young people have gotten progressively lazier. In fact, it is quite the opposite," said Challenger. "They are spending more time on homework, extracurricular activities, and summer educational and personal development programs. All of these factors take away from time that used to be spent in a traditional job."

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