Summer Job Market Dicey

May 14, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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Job hunting has become somewhat of an onerous task lately. The state of the economy means much of the job pool has dried up.

These days looking through the classifieds can leave most people empty handed and competing for a job is like competing for a top 10 spot on “American Idol.”

A recent report put out by the Michigan Department of Career Development said that with the state’s employment trends, the national outlook and normal seasonal patterns for June, July and August, all signs point to a very competitive teen labor market this summer.

The teen (ages 16-19) labor force participation is anticipated to continue the downward trend of the past several years. This pattern is expected to yield 21,300 fewer teen jobseekers, for a total of 355,300 teens seeking employment during the June through August period.

The competitive nature of this summer’s job market is reflected in the expected rise in the teen unemployment rate to 19.8 percent from 19.3 percent in the summer of 2002. Even in favorable labor market conditions, teen jobless rates are relatively high compared to the overall unemployment rate.

With fewer teens expected to be looking for work this summer, the number of unemployed teens is projected to be 2,400 lower than last summer, but these teens will make up a greater proportion of the smaller teen labor force. In total, 285,000 teens are expected to find jobs in the summer of 2003.

Spreading some good news was the recent Small Business Barometer survey, put out by the Small Business Association of Michigan, which found that 20 percent of small businesses are still planning to hire additional employees.

“Young people seeking summer jobs may have to work a little harder to find the job they want, but chances are good that at least some small businesses around the state will have positions available,” said Michael Rogers, vice president communications for SBAM.

Work experience at a small business can be a much more valuable addition to a young worker’s resume than anonymously toiling at a big company, Rogers added.

“At a small company, you’re much more likely to report directly to the owner and you’ll have many more opportunities to cross-train and learn many different skill sets,” he said. “You might even learn enough to start your own small business some day.”

And in order to spur along local jobs and put money into the economy to allow businesses to hire more employees, the House recently passed, by a 222-203 margin, the Jobs and Growth Tax Reconciliation Act of 2003, which pumps $200 billion into the economy and creates 1.2 million new jobs by the end of 2003.

The bill makes permanent individual tax rate reductions that were enacted in 2001, increases the child tax credit, accelerates marriage penalty relief, increases business bonus depreciation to 50 percent through 2005, quadruples small business expensing to $100,000 and reduces capital gains and individual dividend tax rates to two lower rates of 15 percent and 5 percent.

“The business investment incentives will benefit our nation’s struggling manufacturing sector and make it easier for more Americans to find jobs,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland. “The design of these tax changes will spur economic activity while raising federal revenue to help return our nation to a balanced budget. As our economy remains sluggish, this legislation includes important tax cuts for families and businesses to create economic growth, keep more money in the pockets of American workers and encourage job creation.”           

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