Teen Unemployment Rate Skyrockets

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It used to be easy to get a summer job bagging groceries, slinging fries or scooping ice cream.

But right now, jobs are hard to come by.

And for teenagers, finding work this summer has been a struggle.

But those who are on the clock are thankful for work.

"Really glad, especially in today's world," said one Bruster's Ice Cream employee.

A new report published by the Employment Policies Institute finds that Georgia ranks third in the nation in teen unemployment.

The state's unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in May of this year, but that number has more than tripled, as an eye opening 32 percent of teens are out of work.

"A lot of people try to apply, people are calling every day up here, applying for jobs, there's probably a stack of applications up there," said one local teen.

Nationally, the unemployment rate for teenagers is 24 percent.

In addition to being out of pocket some extra cash, the EPI found teens are losing valuable entry-level experience in the workforce.

And the bad news may only get worse.

In addition to the recession, a mandatory minimum wage increase on July 24th could only add to the problem for teens looking for work, as well as adults still looking for jobs themselves.

"It's just like a lot of jobs, like McDonald's, that are being done by adults. Summer kids, teenagers used to get in during the summer, they're taking a lot of adults now for a lot of these jobs at other places," said one local teen.