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redeyechicago.com

Summer job forecast for teens: Not so hot

Labor statistics show young people face unemployment rate near 24 percent.

Vanessa McClure

5:32 PM CDT, April 4, 2012

Indianapolis

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Those easy, part-time summer jobs may not be so easy to snag this summer. The latest labor statistics show young people face an unemployment rate of 23.8 percent.

In the state of Indiana, teenagers between 16 and 19 years old are up against a 19 percent unemployment rate.

"Not being able to find a job when they're 16 or 19 means they're not developing some of those skills and also hurts them in terms of earning levels," said Derek Thomas, a policy analyst with the Indiana Institute for Working Families.

He said a larger percentage of older workers are taking low wage jobs typically left for teens.

"I was talking with my friends last night and a lot of them were saying they wish they could find a job so they could buy a car or gas and that stuff but they can't because they don't have a job," said Paige Hankins, who will be working as a lifeguard at a neighborhood pool this summer.

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis is hiring between 300 and 400 summer employees, that's roughly the same number it hired before the economy took a dive. 

"There's not that much experience needed, these are entry level positions and a lot of teenagers or college kids get their first job as a camp counselor," said Pat Staver, Recruiting Manager for the YMCA.

The Indy Parks and Recreation Department is also hiring lifeguards, counsellors and cashiers for city day camps and pools this summer. 

Thomas said he encourages young people to be resolute and tenacious when looking for work. He said it's a good idea to even take unpaid internships to develop skills which could lead to better paying positions in the future.