When I was a teenager I babysat, pet-sat and worked at an Arby’s. My favorite summer I was working at a local newspaper during the day and at Arby’s at night. What a rush it was to go out and cover a tornado along with the rest of the newsroom staff. I was getting experience for my future career and making some summer spending money.

This summer’s teenagers may be having a harder time finding a job than I did.

Fewer teenagers are working this summer. In June, employers hired 683,000 teens, far fewer than the 1.1 million who found jobs a year ago, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

Since 1998, the number of teens hired in July has fallen 43 percent from June levels. The Labor Department predicts 389,000 will be hired this July, according to Challenger. That means 1.2 million additional teens will have been hired this summer, the smallest gain since 1958.

Apparently employers hired more teens than usual in March and April, according to Challenger. So perhaps they planned ahead.

Summer jobs not only give teens some income but they also teach responsibility, a work ethic and, in some cases, a chance to try out a future career.

July 10, 2008.