As the summer of 2017 comes around, a new set of data shows that kids are not working during the summer like they used to in the past. Instead, many are either enrolled in summer school, doing volunteer work to build up their college resume, or just hanging with friends.

Why the change?

Rather than working in a restaurant, being a lifeguard, or scooping ice-cream, many kids have either chosen not to work or their status reflects the lack of opportunities presented to them. This is common in lower income areas, where many teenagers do not have the opportunity to find summer work when they are off from school.

In these areas, older workers will hold the lower skilled jobs that were once available to teenagers.

Many economist and labor market analysts are worried by this new trend in today's kids. They fear that not holding a Summer Job will deprive them of very valuable work experience, and the ability to experience other social and cultural backgrounds they may encounter in the workforce.

In today's times, a college education is argued to be of high importance, and many kids spend their time studying or doing volunteer work to bolster their chance to get into a competitive school. Also, many jobs are also being taken by people near retirement, who take low income positions to transition into full retirement.

These same positions are also being increasingly filled by foreign born workers. Lastly, a majority of school districts have actually lengthened their school year for high school, in order to boost student achievement. This results in a smaller summer vacation that makes it even harder for teenagers to find work in the short time they have off, if they even want to.

The numbers behind these reports

According to ABC News, statistics below show the drop in summer employment for teenagers:

  • In July of 1986, 57 percent of 16-19 year olds in America were employed. By last July, the number has dropped to almost 36 percent employment.
  • In July of 1986, only 12 percent of 16-19 year olds were taking summer classes, but this number has now risen to 42 percent.
  • 2000-2001, teen accounted for 12 percent of retail workers, but fifteen years later this number has dropped to just 7 percent, a study a Drexel University found.

As time goes on, the numbers are expected to keep falling as teenagers move away from a summer of gaining work experience, and focus on sports, school, and other activities other than work.