Slowing Economy Could Impact Summer Jobs

When I was a student, I spent four summers working at a small Greek restaurant in my hometown (Kafe Neo in Edmonds, for those of you in the Seattle area. Try the Grecian Special gyro--pronounced "YEAR-oh"--and definitely get a side of skordalia and pita!). The money wasn't great, but it was something; I got delicious free Greek food while I worked, and whenever I went in while I wasn't working; I liked my coworkers; it wasn't too stressful. In short, it was a typical summer job.

Unfortunately for today's high school and college students--prime candidates for seasonal work--summer jobs are likely to be hard to come by this year.

"Oil prices skyrocketing. Home sales plummeting. Retail sales falling. Because of all these factors, there is likely to be a dearth of 'help wanted' signs up this summer. And many teens may be extra motivated to want work as parents, seeing discretionary dollars dwindle, start asking kids to pick up more of the tab," according to a recent MSNBC article.

Two recent studies show that the summer job market is going to be a competitive one.

"Nearly half of hiring managers say they have no plans to hire any seasonal workers this year, according to a study of 1,100 companies released today by, a job site for hourly positions. When asked why they wouldn’t be hiring, 31 percent of those polled said they didn’t have the budget," according to the article.

Further, "a report put out this month by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University states that 'the summer 2008 job outlook for teens looks particularly bleak,'" according to the article.

Part of the squeeze will come from "the growing number of older workers going after traditional teen jobs in retail and food services, and also the increase in illegal and legal immigrants vying for those jobs," according to the article.

With the economy in a slowdown or a recession--depending on your point of view--more people are looking for work and there are fewer jobs to go around. I know one woman, well established in her job, who recently got a second job working weekends at Starbucks to help cover her rising gas and food costs.

Teenagers and adults alike who are looking for part-time, seasonal work should start looking soon. According to the study, 76 percent of companies that will be hiring summer and seasonal workers expect to fill those positions by May.

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March 25, 2008 at 4:21 PM Kari Quaas said...

Year round employers may be slower to hire seasonals this year, but the parks and the multitude of seasonal employers out there are still hiring and now is the time to apply.

Check out to find some great opportunities.

Trista, I do live in Seattle so I'll be checking out the Greek cafe you mentioned next time I'm in Edmonds. : )

Kari Quaas

March 27, 2008 at 9:38 AM Trista Winnie said...


Thanks for the link--those jobs look like a blast!

Enjoy Kafe Neo!

April 10, 2008 at 10:37 PM Kari Quaas said...


You're welcome! If you want to meet other folks living the seasonal / summer job lifestyle, you should also check out our social network, My Cool Works at We now have over 900 members any many are heading out for their summer jobs already. It's fun to hear their stories.


August 6, 2008 at 9:05 AM Kari Quaas said...

Hey Trista,

I did try Kafe Neo and it was awesome. Thanks for that tip!


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