TRAVERSE CITY — The pressure is on for Brooke Stocking to find her first summer job.
The Traverse City teen, 16, is on two cheer teams and will compete this summer in Virginia Beach. She needs money for the trip but worries she submitted applications at Pirate’s Cove and Oleson’s too late to land work.
“I just applied a week and a half ago,” Stocking said of Pirate’s Cove, a mini-golf and entertainment venue on US 31 North. “A couple of my friends work there and they were saying that they’ve already hired a lot of new people because seniors are going off to college.”
State labor analysts suggest teens like Stocking will fare better this summer than recent years past. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget points to a brighter summer job market, with the predicted unemployment rate for people ages 16-19 at 25.5 percent, slightly below last year’s rate of 26.7.
The market will remain competitive, analysts said, but it’s an improvement from the bleak situation three and four years ago, when teen unemployment hit 31.8 percent in 2009 and 35 percent in 2010. The state estimated the 2013 workforce at 242,800 teenagers, and 180,900 will find jobs.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Kurt Weiss, a spokesman for the DTMB. “We’ve seen a big drop in the statewide unemployment rate, and more adults are finding work. That’s one of the reasons we’re seeing the teen rate improve.”
Recruiters at Crystal Mountain recognize a first crack at employment can be tough for teenagers with slim resumes. The resort and spa overlooks inexperience for employees who are familiar with the resort, and who are willing to learn and show loyalty, said human resources director Gretchen Swanson.
“We really believe in bringing them in young and trying to keep them with us,” she said.
The resort last month hired 42 people between the ages of 15 to 19 as lifeguards, dish washers, bus staff and banquet line runners. Jobs continue to be posted online.
Bob Parsons, manager of the Carmike Cinema off South Airport Road, suggested teenagers who want to break into the workforce keep trying if their job search doesn’t immediately pan out.
“There are times when right now I’ll say I’m not hiring and a week from now I see my movie outlook may get better and I may need to hire more people,” Parsons said. “It’s hit or miss.”