As recently as the turn of the 21st century, roughly half of U.S. teens could expect to spend at least part of their summer vacation lifeguarding, dishing up soft-serve ice cream, selling T-shirts or otherwise working. But the share of teens working summer jobs has tumbled since 2000: Despite some recovery since the end of the Great Recession, about a third of teens (35%) had a job last summer.
Why is the slow death of the summer job such a big deal? Teens are not getting the practical experience they need before they enter the workforce. There are things that young people learn in a job that can’t be learned anywhere else.