US teens aged 16 to 19 gained 153,000 jobs in May, down 30% year-over-year, lowest May total since 2018 when 130,000 jobs were added; retail employment fell by 61,000 jobs, over half of losses in general merchandising stores: Challenger, Gray & Christmas

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June 9, 2022 (press release) –


Last month, 153,000 teens aged 16 to 19 gained jobs, according to an analysis of non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. 

May gains are 30% lower than the 219,000 teen jobs added in the same month last year. It is the lowest number of teen job gains in May since 2018 when 130,000 jobs were added. Related: How Are American Teens in 2022? Teen employment summer forecast.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

Employment in Retail, a major employer for teens, fell by 61,000 jobs in May, according to the monthly employment situation from the BLS. Over half of the losses occurred in general merchandising stores.

“Retail is certainly being hit with supply chain issues and inflation. Costs of goods are skyrocketing, and many retailers may choose to cut workers or stall hiring until demand increases or prices stabilize,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“At the same time, teens may be shunning available opportunities or waiting to apply until school obligations officially end,” he added.

For parents looking to help their teens find work in June and July, Challenger offered the following tips:

Dos & Don’ts for Parents Helping Teens Find Work

  • Help craft the resume. Parents can be very helpful in showing their teens how to create and format a resume, what types of work and school experience should be included, and how to articulate success stories and accomplishments. 
  • Look for open positions. If parents see a help wanted sign or a job ad, they should take down any useful information and send it to their teens.
  • Make introductions to networking contacts. Parents can introduce their teens to people in their own networks who may have positions available or know people who do. Let your contacts know you have a teen who is looking for work and ask if they have availability for a call. Then, let your teen take over scheduling it.
  • Practice interviewing. Interviewing is one of the hardest skills for any job seeker. Parents can offer to be the candidates and craft answers that showcase accomplishments, experience, and enthusiasm. The parent can then take a turn as the interviewer, so the teen can practice their answers.
  • Give a ride. One great way for teens to find open positions or interviews is to physically go to places that employ teens – coffee shops, grocery stores, park districts, etc. – speak to a manager, and deliver a resume. Parents can certainly offer to drive teens around on this errand.
  • Offer guidance and support. The job search is hard and often full of disappointments. Parents can offer encouragement and a listening ear, particularly when teens do not get a call back from a hiring manager.  


  • …write the resume. It is important that teens know what their experience and accomplishments are and can write them in a compelling way for a hiring manager. While parents can show example resumes and offer feedback, they should not write it for their teen.
  • …apply for open positions. This is a skill all job seekers need to master over the course of their career. Parents are doing their children no favors filling out applications for them.
  •  …go to the teen’s interview. Hiring managers have reported parents arriving with their teens to the actual interviews, even interrupting their teens to give answers. This will only suggest that the teen cannot work individually or self-start. Needless to say, those people did not get the jobs.
  • …network for them. Teens need to learn how to present themselves in a professional setting. Certainly parents should make introductions, but allow teens to speak and answer questions for themselves.
  • …berate teens for not landing a position. Any candidate, regardless of age, will feel badly when they do not get a job offer. Parents should sympathize with their teens and offer comfort when they lose out on a role. 

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