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Summer Jobs For Mississippi Teens Scarce

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 11 May 2012 04:49pm | comments
Credit: Andy Oakly/Flickr

Fewer Mississippi teens will be working in summer jobs than at any time since World War Two. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that part time or summer jobs are becoming harder to find.

Just one in four teens in Mississippi who wants to work will get summer job...about half what it was ten years ago.

With unemployment in Mississippi at 9-percent, Teens and young adults who want to work over the summer or part-time are now finding themselves in competition with adults also looking for work.

U-S Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis says the federal government has created a teen job bank called Summer Jobs Plus to try to match teens with work.

"Private corporations, non-profits, community based groups and colleges and universities to help us provide job slots this summer. And already through our initiative we have about 300,000 slots open. 90,000 of those are paid positions," Solis said.

The remaining jobs are for volunteer or internships which, while being unpaid, have become an increasingly popular option for teens looking work.

That's what 17-year old Matthew Spann of Jackson is doing since he has been unable to find a summer job.

"I wouldn't consider them crummy jobs. I would consider them more of a stepping block to get more experience in the job field. I consider them more of a stepping block because if I take this job then it will help me in my skills and then it will lead up to higher and better things," Spann said.

At the same time federal support for summer jobs for teens has decline by 8-percent since the late 90's and the increasing minimum wage has dried up jobs for teens at local municipalities.

Still, there are traditional summer jobs available.

16-year old Fields Ferguson of Batesville will spend the summer as a camp counselor where he used to be a camper.

"So this year I am officially a first year counselor. I don't think it is really trouble finding work it is just they don't feel like going out and getting the jobs that need to be done. They don't feel like going to McDonalds and flipping burgers. They want a good job that pays them well. Pretty much they are being lazy," Ferguson said.

With the economy slowly recovering, more jobs for teens could open up as the overall job market improves.

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Credit: Andy Oakly/Flickr


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