Summer Teen Employment Outlook

May 30, 2007 - Posted at 8:45 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- This summer, more than 2.5 million teens nationwide will enter the workforce.  Teen employment rates are the highest from April to August and most teenagers going to work will come from middle class families.  But for some teens, it's a chance to experience the real world without real world responsibilities.

"I don't need to be counting on my parents all my life so I decided I need to get a job and get some responsibilities," said 18-year-old Cinnabon employee Ryan Orduna.

"If you are a teen and don't have a job, get one.  It makes you feel better about yourself and gives you a great sense of responsibility," said 17-year-old Circuit City Sales Associate Beau Hicks.

Teenagers Orduno and Hicks know the value of a dollar.  Both are employees at the Mall at Turtle Creekand make up the ever growing teen workforce.

"They are usually more eager to learn then older age people would be," said Circuit City Entertainment Sales Manager Carey Somers, "They are young, they are impressionable.  Good for training it sticks with them; they soak it all up, they are eager to go."

"It's great to see that work history.  When employers see that work history and see that they are willing to work in their early years as a teenager and in college, it says a lot about that person. It really establishes work ethics with that person and really carries them far in life," said Jeremy Thacker of Express Personnel.

The Department of Labor sets the minimum age for employment at 14, but most businesses require minors to be at least 16 to work.

"When you are in school it can be hectic, of course you have to keep up with your school work and on top of that you have to worry about numbers and things like that. But by no means is it anything that anybody couldn't handle," said Hicks.

"It's helpful, it teaches me a lot, and it teaches me responsibility. I never had to pay for anything, like my phone bill or anything and now I know that I have to save my money and make sure I have enough to pay my truck payment or I'll be walking to school," laughed Orduna.

Express Personnel says the most popular jobs for teens in Region 8 are in the fast food industry, hospitality, retail and construction.