The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 15, 2003


Tough summer job market for teens

RecCom counselor Amy Chateauneu helps Conner and Kristan Wilmot get into costumes for their performance in Shrek at the summer camp. (Photo by Lois d'Annunzio)

Teenagers across the country, including those in Carlisle, had trouble finding jobs this summer. Jen Morse, a recent CCHS graduate who will be attending Harvard this fall, was lucky enough to be working at Kimball's Ice Cream stand (partly by virtue of the fact that she has worked there for the past three years), but she says some of her friends have not been as fortunate. Morse says she knows several teens who went door-to-door, visiting nearly every store in downtown Bedford, yet were unable to find a job.

Amy Chateauneuf, who will be a junior at CCHS this fall and worked as a camp counselor at Carlisle Recreation, says that many people she knows waited until summer to apply for jobs, and by then there were no jobs to be had. Alex Zywiak, a senior at CCHS in the fall, who works at the Nashoba Day Camp in Littleton as a swimming instructor, agrees, saying that many of his friends also waited too long to apply for jobs. "The kids coming home from college had already taken all the jobs," he says.

Jen Morse scoops ice cream at Kimball's as fellow worker Molly Crowther fills an order in the background. (Photo by Mike Quayle)

Sean DeBruzzi, an upcoming high school junior who works as a lifeguard for Heritage pool in Concord and also does landscaping on the side, has a different view on why teenagers haven't been able to find jobs. "I don't think they looked hard enough," he says. "They should have looked other places, and not just stayed in Concord and Carlisle."

Although this may be true for some teens, the New York Times published an article in early July stating that this year, teenagers have had to face the worst summer job market in 55 years, with teen unemployment being the highest in a decade. Since the economy is so bad, older workers were taking jobs usually held by college students, and those college students were, in turn, taking their high school jobs away from current high school students, making it hard for them to find jobs, according to the article's author, Kate Zernike.

Katie DeGuglielmo, who will be a sophomore at CCHS this fall, was able to find a job at The Toy Shop in Concord. However, she had to wait until mid-August to start, when the college students return to school and a position was available. Jen Morse noted that at Kimball's, where 42 high school and college students are employed, "staffing is hard because everyone wants to work in the summer." Since there are so many people working, each employee gets fewer hours, "then, in fall, the high school students get swamped," when the college students go back to school. And, even with 42 teens working there, Kimball's still had to turn many applicants away.

This is Sean DeBruzzi's second year working as a lifeguard at Heritage Pool in Concord. (Photo by John DeBruzzi)

Carlisle Recreation also employed many teens, 39 in all. Cindy Nock, recreation co-director, says that there were twice as many applicants this year as last year, and they had to turn 25 teens away. There were so many kids looking for jobs this summer that Carlisle Recreation had to institute an over-15 guideline for applicants. This guideline won't be enforced until next year, but it shows how younger teens are having even more trouble trying to find a job. Fortunately, one of the purposes of Carlisle Recreation and Camp Carlisle is to "provide jobs for teens, as well as provide recreational activities for the children," says Nock.

However, with the unemployment rate for teens from 16-19 at 19.3% nationwide in June, things looked bleak for teens this summer. To look on the bright side, while teens will be short on cash this summer, being unemployed offers more time to relax.

Nikki Armistead will be a senior at CCHS this fall, and is enjoying her summer job as a proofreader and writer for the Carlisle Mosquito.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito