Teenage Jobseekers Feel Economic Pinch

It takes a lot to get a teenager to wake up early on a Saturday morning. And on this day, it took a dream - a dream of a summer job. More than a thousand teenagers got dressed up and lined up for a Summer Youth Job Fair outside Los Angeles, reports CBS News' Brandon Scott.

"What did you bring this morning?" Scott asked Ian Segal, a 16 year old from Irvine, Calif.

"I brought, it's like a resume," Ian said. "You list your skills. I'm CPR/ first aid certified.

During better economic times, a summer job usually meant extra spending money. But during this summer of recession, for many of these teens, a job is critical to their family's finances. Sixteen year-old Alex Jefferson said her mom is worried about a looming lay-off.

"How important is it for you to get a job today?" Scott asked.

"It is definitely important," Alex said. "Because of the recession my mom needs help and any little thing I can help with I'm willing to do."

Alex needs to make money to help buy food and pay the rent.

"My family is scared, but I'm praying that we pull through," Alex said.

Further down the line, Jason Catalasan is hoping to help his family pull through, too.

"I don't want to feel useless at home, you know, like jobless and not making any money," Jason said. "I want to help my mom out."

Jason, who's 16, says he's watched his single mom struggle to support her three kids. He'll be grateful for any job he can get.

"The economy's kind of crappy, and people are getting laid off, and just, it sucks," Jason said.

For teenagers, looking for a summer job can almost be a full-time task. The national unemployment rate for 16 to 19 year olds is more than 21 percent, compared to just about 15 percent one year ago.

Job fair organizer Karen Springer said, just like adults, teens are facing a tough job market.

"I don't know if all youth are going find a job this year," said Karen Springer, with Irvine Youth Employment Services.

In fact, employers like Mike Duvarney say the huge number of teenage job seekers is unprecedented.

"I've never seen anything like this and we've been hiring thousands of staff a year for 25 years," said Duvarney with Skyhawks Sports Academy.

His advice to score a summer job?

"It comes down to confidence, responsibility and really separating yourself from others," Duvarney said.

After his interview, Jason isn't sure if he nailed it, but he's determined to find work.

"I'll just have to move on, apply for more places," Jason said.

Alex was nervous, but tried not to show it.

"I'm just praying that I get this job, because it's a job that I really want to do," Alex said.

And it's a job that she really needs.