2011 Summer Job Outlook – Good or Bad?

summer job waitressIf you are looking for a seasonal job or have a teen/college student coming home for the summer – now is the time to start applying.

Whether it’s cutting lawns, waiting tables or bagging groceries – there’s always extra competition when the summer break rolls around.

But will the outlook for this summer be better than in recent years – or will the economy continue to provide problems for job seekers?

It depends on what study you look at. One jobs website predicts there will be more companies hiring and even paying better wages! However, the nation’s longest-running outplacement consulting firm says the market for students is still weak.

Who do you believe?

According to the website SnagAJob.com, 55% of hiring managers are planning to bring seasonal employees on board in the coming summer months. That’s the highest result since the website started conducing the study in 2007.

10% of those surveyed told SnagAJob.com they plan to hire more workers than last year. To top it off…hiring managers plan to pay an average of $10.90 an hour. That’s a 7% increase in last summer’s average pay.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the outlook should be optimistic for new college graduates looking to permanently join the workforce and start a career. NACE says job growth in nearly every industry appears to be stronger than in 2010.

NACE reports last fall less than 50% of employers questioned said they planned to hire new college grads from the class of 2011. But the most recent survey shows that number has risen to 53%. NACE also found that average salaries are up about 3.5% from the same time last year. That’s the first time it’s increased since the recession began in 2008.

bad news on summer jobs outlook

Don’t start celebrating just yet – it’s not all good news!

While the situation appears to be improving, you have to keep other economic factors in mind.

The employment firm Challenger Gray & Christmas says its 2011 Teen Summer Job Outlook is pretty dire. But at least not quite as bad as last year.

In the summer of 2010, employers only added 960,000 jobs for teen workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s the worst the summer job market had been since 1949! Summer job growth was also down 17.5% from 2009.

According to John Challenger – there are a lot of reasons why it will still be tough in 2011.

“Competition for jobs will be significant,” Challenger said in a press release on the study. “Young job seekers will not only compete with other teenagers, but in certain types of jobs like retail and food service, they may compete with recent college graduates or older workers who need to supplement retirement income.”

The cost of fuel could also hamper hiring in May June and July. Challengers says if the price of gas keeps going up, private sector employers like theme parks, hotels and landscapers may reduce seasonal hiring.

Challenger believes public sector hiring will take a hit as well as cities and states look for ways to make budget cuts.

“Any teen hiring gains achieved in the slowly improving private sector could be offset by losses in the public sector, where teenagers often find summer employment as camp counselors, lifeguards, office assistants, laborers and clerks,” Challenger explained. “In fact, the City of Chicago announced this week that the number of summer jobs for young people will decrease by 22 percent this year.”

However, even with a bleak forecast for summer jobs, Challenger says not to give up. He points out that the city of Chicago still plans to hire 14,000 seasonal teen workers this year.

One thing SnagAJob.com and Challenger Gray and Christmas agree on is you shouldn’t wait to start trying to land that summer job.

SnagAJob.com says 43% of hiring managers will complete seasonal hiring by April. Many of those jobs will go to returning workers.

Starting your job search early is key – and the early-bird window is closing fast – so don’t fly into the glass and break your neck. A representative from a temp agency told CNNMoney.com that if students haven’t found a job by mid-May they probably won’t get one at all!

Image Credit: mayhem and OSO Windsor

+Kasey Steinbrinck is a former TV news producer and newspaper reporter who is now the lead blogger for Check Advantage. Find hundreds of  unique checks online including Classic Checks and Cool Checks.


  1. This is (mostly) encouraging news, and somewhat surprising, given the current state of the economy…

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