Summer job market being called the worst in decades

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, May 28, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---"I made it 12 years," said a jubilant Krisna Johnson, one of many marching into a new chapter of their lives as high school graduates. Of course, family and friends couldn't be more thrilled, but Krisna's had something else on her mind lately...getting a summer job.

"I know my parents are not going to want to pay for college, and for me to do everything I want to do this summer...and gas is like $10 a gallon," said Krisna.

Well, it's not quite $10, but it is enough to have a major impact on the local economy. Industry experts say this years summer job outlook is shaping up to be the worst on record.

"This summer is gonna be a challenge for the youth," said James Abron, manager of the Augusta Career Center.

Rising fuel prices and too little disposable income are partly to blame. Krisna knows firsthand. She says it took her months to land a job at Zaxby's.

"I applied. I called. I applied again. I called again," said Krisna.

There is at least one piece of good news. When the students walk out of that door as graduates the Georgia Department of Labor is offering a $33,000 grant creating 25 summer jobs.

"It's for youth, period. Youth. Ages 14 to 21," said Mr. Abron.

Those are encouraging words for Krisna's classmate Cierra Richardson. She's still searching for a job. "I have a good work history, but I haven't been able to find any jobs," said Cierra.

Early predictions suggest this year's summer teen employment rate will top out around 34 percent. In 2000, that number was 45 percent. With the drop... It's no wonder, Cierra says, she keeps getting the same results.

"They don't call back. They say I'm going to review your application, and I never get a call back," said Cierra.

"Just keep trying. The jobs are out there...may not be able to get the jobs you want, but the jobs are out there," said Mr. Abron.

Those jobs we were telling you about will get you $5.85 per hour. This is for Richmond and Burke County. You can call the Richmond-Burke job training office at 706-721-1858 for more information.

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