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Teens find summer jobs as restaurants claim lack of adult applicants

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 20:43:55-04

MARANA, Ariz. (KGUN9) — 16-year-old Caity Stueck just started as a lifeguard at Marana Pool. Many of her friends are working now too.

"Some of them are working at the shell or dairy queen or the little ostrich ranch up by Picacho Peak,” she said.

The summer is usually the peak time for youth employment, and that might be especially true this year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the teen unemployment rate has drastically improved from earlier in the pandemic.

“I know all my friends that wanted a job got a job, none of them were not going to get one,” said Stueck. While teens seem ready to fill positions, many businesses and restaurants are reporting trouble finding adults who want to apply. "Not a single phone call, I listed on Indeed, I listed on Facebook, no response, no applications,” said Spice Garden Owner Jay Patel.

Patel says certain jobs like serving alcohol can’t be done by high schoolers. He’s working 7 days a week in the front and the kitchen to make up for the staffing shortage. "I think this is happening mainly because of unemployment,” he said.

“Everyone is getting a lot of money with unemployment they don’t want to come work. I’ve never seen it like this before.”

People on unemployment will continue to collect up to $540 a week in Arizona until the federal supplement is cutoff in July. For Stueck it was simply a choice of just wanting some spending money as things appear to be opening up this summer.

“Just going out to dinner, and just going and doing things and meeting up with people, I don’t know little activities going to the mall,” she said.