While the overall job market is showing improvement, the employment prospects for teens looking for summer work remain unusually bleak, with one in four job-hunting teens idle.
Teen unemployment was 24.5 percent last month, more than triple the national jobless rate of 7.6 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
Those unemployment rates reflect only those people who are actively looking for work, not those who have given up or never looked in the first place.
Joblessness among teens 16-19 traditionally is far greater than the national average, but their current unemployment rate is "really high," said Diana Carew, an economist for the Progressive Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
Though the economy is rebounding, the teen unemployment rate has remained virtually unchanged over the past two years. Economists say the trend is driven by a still slow economy in which older adults and people in their early- to mid-20s compete with teens for low-level jobs.
Only a third of teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 look for paid work today, according to BLS data. Half of working-age teens participated in the labor force during the late 1990s.