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Help Not Wanted

• June 13, 2012 3:39 pm

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Summer jobs are a thing of the past, as the idling economy and lackluster job market has left struggling teenagers with few ways to make a buck, statistics show.

The Associated Press reports that less than three in 10 youths have summer jobs:

The decline has been particularly sharp since 2000, with employment for 16- to 19-year-oldsfalling to the lowest level since World War II.

And teen employment may never return to pre-recession levels, suggests a projection by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The drop in teen employment, steeper than for other age groups, is partly a cultural shift. More youths are spending summer months in school, at music or learning camps or in other activities geared for college. But the decline is especially troubling for teens for whom college may be out of reach, leaving them increasingly idle and with few options to earn wages and job experience.

The AP further notes that "more than 44 percent of teens who want summer jobs don’t get them or work fewer hours than they prefer."

The massive downturn comes as the Obama administration is suggesting that young people take unpaid internships—despite the White House’s pledge to crack down on this practice.

To help tout the benefits of summer jobs that young people cannot get, the White House invited geriatric television personality Betty White to discuss her first jobs.