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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Number of teens working hits highest rate since 2008, could impact worker shortage as school returns

Posted at 7:22 AM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 07:22:06-04

(WXYZ) — When it comes to the worker shortage, teenagers could save the day, or at least try to.

More of them are working now than they have in the past decade. In May, 33% of American teens 16-19 were punching the clock, up 10% from last year.

But, with the school year fast approaching, employers are facing another crossroads, as they may not keep working when they return to school.

Basam Shamon, the owner of Just Baked in Southfield, said he's doing whatever he can to work around his workers schedules. As kids return to school, he's ready to adjust for classes and sports practice.

He's already short three or four positions at the location. One of his new hires, a 17-year-old, will be starting school extra-curricular activities in August, meaning she'll have less hours for work.

“Before our limit was 18 and above but right now we have no choice. We’ve dropped it down to 16, 17.. we’re looking," he said.

That's because he doesn't have a choice. Teens are making up the biggest chunk of the labor pool.

We reached out to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks teen employment in the U.S.

The rate of 16- to 19-year-olds working nationwide since March 2021 is higher than it's been since 2008.

“17, 18-year-old you’re making $10 an hour, $9-$10 an hour, you’re happy. 30-year-olds, I don’t think they’re going to do it for that amount of money," Terry Ryan, a PGA Professional at Evergreen Hills in Southfield, said.

When the pandemic hit, Evergreen Hills upped golf cart sanitation measures and relied on teens, mostly from the Southfield golf teams to fill positions.

“Right now we have seven. Three of them are leaving for college so we’ll still have four, and they’ll alternate," Ryan said. “But they’ve also filled in other parts for us, answering phones, working on the computers and things like that when we’ve been short-handed.”

Companies are doing anything to attract teens, even accepting Tik Tok resumes

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