Bringing the Economy Home

Are Summer Jobs A Thing Of The Past?

Kahala / Flickr Creative Commons

Boise's city pools open June 1.

Memorial Day weekend means the unofficial start to summer.  Teens across Idaho will soon graduate or head out on summer break. Some of those teens, undoubtedly, are looking for a summer job.

The Employment Policies Institute took a closer look at U.S. Census Bureau data that shows the average teen jobless rate among states is almost 25 percent.  In Idaho, April’s teen jobless rate was more like 28.4 percent.  Only six states, plus the District of Columbia, have a higher percentage of teens out of work.

So, what does that mean for teens who want to make a little cash and get some job experience during June, July and August?  EPI says competition for jobs is tougher and there are fewer options for this generation of teens.

The quintessential summer job for someone 16 to 19-years-old is the local pool lifeguard.  The Boise Parks and Rec department hires between 30 and 35 lifeguards to staff its six city pools each summer.  Most of those lifeguards are high school or college students, says aquatic coordinator Paula Ekins, and most of them come back every year while they’re still in school.

Contrary to the teen jobless data, Ekins says they’ve actually been able to hire more lifeguards in recent years.  The main reason: a day at the city pool is inexpensive entertainment.  “The pools have not been impacted by the economy at all,” Ekins says.  “People are finding less expensive ways to recreate.”

So, what was your summer job?  Did your summer job shape who you are today?  StateImpact Idaho has one former summer lifeguard on staff, we also have a former ice cream scooper in the house.  Share your summer job story in the comments section below!


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »