May 31, 2021 - Economy

Teens clean up at summer jobs with perks, raises

A McDonald's sign that reads " Work here $15 and free meals"

Help wanted in Sinking Spring, Pa. Photo: Ben Hasty/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

America's luckiest workers are teens, as employers pour on perks and higher pay, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: In the face of a nationwide hospitality and restaurant worker shortage, more teenagers from 16 to 19 are working now than before the pandemic erupted, per Bureau of Labor statistics cited by the Times.

  • Workers at Kennywood theme park outside Pittsburgh "are receiving season park passes for themselves and three family members — a bonus worth around $300," per the Times. Kennywood's starting wage is $13, up from $9 last year.
  • Applebee’s has offered an 'Apps for Apps' deal to give interviewed applicants a free appetizer voucher.
  • Restaurants and gas stations across the U.S. are offering workers signing bonuses.
  • Lifeguards are getting raises, and some age requirements are dropping from 16 to 15.

Reality check: Data show that white teens are doing better than Black or Hispanic teens, possibly because of transportation disparities:

  • "[W]hile places like Cape Cod and suburban neighborhoods begin to boom, some urban centers with public transit remain short on foot traffic."
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