WASHINGTON - Once a rite of passage to adulthood, summer jobs for teens are disappearing.
Fewer than three in 10 American teenagers now hold jobs such as running cash registers, mowing lawns or busing restaurant tables from June to August. The decline has been particularly sharp since 2000, with employment for 16-to-19-year olds falling to the lowest level since World War II.
It's partly a cultural shift. More youths are spending summer months in school, at camps or in other activities geared for college. But the trend is especially troubling for teens for whom college may be out of reach, leaving them few options to earn wages and job experience.
Older workers, immigrants and debt-laden college graduates are taking away lower-skill work as they struggle to find jobs in the weak economy.