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Trends for Teen Employment in May 2024

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A photo of teenagers filling out applications in an office for summer jobs in 2024. Highly detailed, 4K. Generated with Stable Diffusion DreamStudio Beta.

After dipping in April, teen jobs rose in May 2024 to their highest level since September 2007.

The initial seasonally-adjusted estimate of Americans Age 16-19 who were counted as employed in May 2024 is 5,871,000. We have to go back to November 2007 to find a higher number of teens among the employed in the United States, 5,927,000.

In November 2007, the percentage of U.S. teens with jobs stood at 34.8% out of a population of 17,048,000. Sixteen and a half years later in May 2024, the teen employment-to-population percentage is 33.4% for a population of 17,574,000 Americans between the ages of 16 and 19. That difference points to the increased population of teens in 2024 as accounting for May 2024′s higher teen employment figure.

The following pair of charts illustrates both teen employment numbers and the teen employment-to-population percentage for the period from January 2016 through May 2024.

U.S. Teen Employment and U.S. Teen Employment-to-Population Percentage from January 2016 through May 2024

Drilling down into the demographic data within the employed teen population, we find that since Janaury 2024, there has been a shift away from younger teens (Age 16-17) in favor of older teens (Age 18-19) in the job figures.

Meanwhile, the percentage share of the working age teen population with jobs remains some 1 to 2% below the peaks recorded for each from December 2022 to April 2023. In other words, as of May 2024, the job market for teens is neither as strong as it was in late 2007 nor is it as strong as it was just a little over a year ago, which contradicts recent claims made about teen employment in the media.

About the Seasonally-Adjusted Data

Each of the data series presented in these charts receives its own seasonal adjustment. Because of that, the numbers of working Age 16-17 year olds and Age 18-19 year olds won’t necessarily add up to the totals shown for the combined Age 16-19 population. If you’re looking for employment figures that do add up, you’ll want to review non-seasonally adjusted data.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor Force Statistics (Current Population Survey – CPS). [Online Database]. Accessed: 3 May 2024.

Image credit: Stable Diffusion DreamStudio Beta. Prompt: “A photo of teenagers filling out applications in an office for summer jobs in 2024. Highly detailed, 4K.” It came out as more of an illustration than a photo, but it works!


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