Fewer teens seek summer jobs.

Position:YOUR LIFE

An improving economy and a shortage of foreign workers almost guarantee that teenagers seeking summer jobs will find employers welcoming them with open arms, suggests an analysis of the seasonal job market by the global outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., Chicago.

The most surprising fact that will enhance teenagers' chances of finding a job is that fewer of their peers appear willing to spend the summer working. In fact, the labor force participation rate among 16-to 19-year-olds in July, 2004--when teen summer employment typically peaks--fell to an all-time low of 53.6%.

According to Chief Executive Officer John A. Challenger, the best opportunities for teen summer job seekers are with employers who routinely are overlooked, such as local, state, and government agencies. Openings will be particularly generous in parts of the country with smaller populations of available workers. A growing number of online summer job recruiting sites should help teens find possibilities anywhere in the country and even in foreign lands. "Of course, online job listings represent just a fraction of the available [positions]. Employers seeking seasonal workers often rely on word of mouth and posting help-wanted signs in store windows," says...

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