SALT LAKE CITY -- With Utah's unemployment rate continuing to go up, it could be a tough summer for teenagers and young workers to find summer jobs. That's because adults with more experience are settling for the jobs which traditionally would go to younger workers.
Like so many other college students her age, Heather Zundel wants a job this summer. "I've been looking for a little over a month now. It's nothing so far," she said.
She's sent applications to dozens of places, but she hasn't heard back from any of them yet. She says her friends are also finding out just how tough the Utah job market is right now to get a high-paying job.
"Most of my friends have degrees, and they're college graduates, but they're working at local book stores and retail, basic stuff, nothing even in their degree at all," Zundel said.
More college graduates taking low-paying jobs means many of Zundel's high school friends are already out of luck for the summer jobs they would normally take.
"They're having a hard time too. They're lucky if they can get retail," Zundel said. [Click Here for tips on how your teen can land a job]
That is why many of them are turning towards volunteering this summer. "We have lots of phone calls from young people," explained Judy Zone, director of Salt Lake City-based YouthLINC.
YouthLINC is a student-oriented volunteer group that does lots of work locally and overseas. Zone thinks doing volunteer work is a great way for students to eventually land a good job.
"This is an opportunity for you to prove yourself, to show what you're made of when you're not drawing a paycheck. So, you can imagine when you are drawing a paycheck? People will know you're a proven commodity," Zone explained.
That's what Zundel is doing. She'll be volunteering in Thailand this summer, hoping the experience will help her land a job later.
Utah's unemployment rate for March, the latest numbers available, was at 5.2 percent, which is 3 points lower the national average. That number is up 0.1 compared to February, and a little more than a 0.5 higher than January.
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Utah Dept. of Workforce Services