Emma Lord
March 27, 2015 8:29 am

As if it isn’t already difficult enough to find a job, it turns out that finding a job as a teen might have just become its own figurative Hunger Games. Don’t beat yourself up too much if you haven’t had too  much success on the job front, because it turns out that teen jobs have declined by 33% between 2001 and 2014, making it harder for high schoolers to find work than ever. Even commonplace jobs like hostessing, food service and ushering, jobs that typically are available to inexperienced teen workers, have shut out teens across the board.

The drop in available teen jobs isn’t too hard to explain — after the Great Recession in 2007, employment opportunities declined for people of all age groups and experience levels. But while employment among adults has steadily started to rise again over the past few years, opportunities for teens have only gotten more scarce.

A team of researchers at CollegeBoard recently released these statistics showing just how much of a disadvantage teens currently have compared to even a decade ago.

“There’s this new competitive dynamic that teens have to deal with today that they didn’t have to deal with before,” said Jennifer Grasz, vice president of corporate communications at CareerBuilder. “Teenagers are now having to compete with college students and even retirees or other workers that are more seasoned for opportunities because people just need to earn a paycheck.”

It turns out retirees are a pretty huge factor in the job disparity. Right now Baby Boomers are all starting to hit retirement age, causing a 40% rise in the number of workers over 55. But teens are also facing steep competition from millennials: “millennials (defined as 22- to 34-year-olds) are taking on an increasing share of the jobs formerly held by teenage workers,” according to the CollegeBoard study.

If you’re dead set on getting a part-time or summer job to make some extra cash or save for college, Grasz says it isn’t all bad news. The odds may be shifting back into teens’ favor sooner rather than later, thanks to recent job growth and economic recovery: “And so teens may, going forward, feel less competition for those roles that they would have felt at the height of the recession or immediately after the recession.”

So don’t give up yet, everyone — hopefully soon you can get that summer gig you always wanted without knocking out a bunch of other tributes on your way to the job Cornucopia.

(Images from here.)