Economy impacts teens

By Terrah Short

The pressures from high school include homework, sports, and extracurricular activities, but as students begin to reach the age when moving into the workforce, there comes a laundry list of all new pressures from job searches and résumés to the fact that America’s economy isn’t in a good state.

“For about the last three years, the job market has had a large decrease in student hiring,” said Erika Spellman, MTHS School-to-Work Coordinator. “Most of the jobs that were usually held by teenagers have either disappeared or have filled up by other groups, such as college students.”

In an economy still recovering from what some call the “Great Recession” from 2007 to 2009, the current national unemployment rate is 9.1 percent compared to being lower than 5 percent before the recession.

“I applied to so many jobs, I had so many interviews,” Janis Gonzales, MTHS senior and employee at Grocery Outlet in Lynnwood said. “I finally got this job with help from my mom.”

With few employment opportunities, some students seem to be reverting back to baby-sitting and mowing lawns.

“I think a lot of students are working at a small business or working for their family,” Spellman said.

If students are able to get a job, they are faced with another challenge: finding a balance between their job and their schoolwork, and that’s if those are the only responsibilities and commitments a student has.

A social life and family life are things that also need to be taken into consideration when looking at time constraints.

“I’m taking three AP classes and a Project Lead the Way engineering class which are all really demanding,” Laura Karnowski, senior at MTHS and an employee at Cinnabon at Northgate Mall said. “Also, for a 0 period, I have to be at school by 6:20am and I don’t get back from work until 10pm. So with homework I get about 4 and a half hours of sleep per night.”

There are, however, a few bright spots in the local teen jobs outlook.

“I think it [the job market] is slowly getting better as new businesses open up,” said Spellman.

“The new American Girl doll store opening added a bunch of new jobs for kids in high school, the Dick’s Drive-In opening has added new jobs for the younger population. I would say it [the job market] isn’t good, but it’s getting better.”