"Help Wanted" signs aplenty, despite high teen unemployment rate - NBC40.net

"Help Wanted" signs aplenty, despite high teen unemployment rate

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Memorial Day is just a few short weeks away and many of the businesses in shore towns are getting ready for the rush - and need some help. While many are on the job hunt, a recent study says New Jersey has high rates when it comes to teen unemployment.

"It was pretty hard, it was difficult." For teenage friends, Tara Rapattoni and Alaina Wilson, finding summer jobs was not easy...they each applied to several places before finally getting hired. "It was pretty hard in the beginning," said Tara, "you just gotta get out there."

With help wanted signs littering storefronts on the Ocean City Boardwalk, there are plenty of opportunities to find work. "We're constantly looking for people who wanna work in a high paced, high volume environment," said Todd Dwyer, General Manager for Chickie's and Pete's in Ocean City.

"Always," said Elaine Amar, owner of Lola's Accessories, about the hiring process, "you have to repeat your seasons."

But even with all these opportunities, New Jersey ranks 9th in the country for teen unemployment, according to a recent study by the Employment Policies Institute. "There's plenty of work, plenty of work for anybody of any age," said Dwyer, "if you wanna work, there's work. It's not an age issue, it's a motivation issue, I think."

Merchants we spoke to say age usually isn't a factor in the hiring process, it's all about finding the right person for the job - not matter how old they are.

"I look number one, the potential, the potential, the potential," said Amar.

"If they're young and they have a great head on their shoulders, then by all means we'd love to have 'em on board," said Dwyer.

While Tara and Alaina had a hard timing nailing down summer work, they don't think age was the reason. "I don't think that it really came into it, you just have to be respectful and responsible," they said.

Merchants say those are the qualities they're looking for, no matter what age the potential employee may be. "We don't really look at age," said Dwyer, "we look at quality of the person, the work ethic."

According to the study, South Carolina had the highest teen unemployment rate, at 33.2%

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