June 11: Bay Area students finding summer jobs faster

Students and young people looking for summer jobs in retail, food service and amusement parks are finding work faster than their peers.

Less than a decade ago, as the country was in the midst of the great recession, unemployment was high and there was fierce competition for job openings in tech as well as the food and retail industries. Young people had to compete with more experienced workers for summer jobs.

But with the national unemployment rate at 3.8 percent as of May and Bay Area counties’ unemployment rates even lower at 2.4 percent in Santa Clara County, 2 percent in San Mateo County, 2.7 percent in Alameda County and 2.8 percent in Contra Costa County as of April, employers hire from a smaller pool of potential workers.

“When the job market is tight like it is now, job searches are much quicker,” said Paul Oyer, a labor economist and professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The unemployment rate for 16 to 19-year-olds in California has decreased from 34.4 percent in 2010 to 17.7 percent in 2017, according to the Department of Labor. For 20 to 24-year-old Californians, it has dropped from 19 percent in 2010 to 7.8 percent in the same timeframe.