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Saving for college top reason for teens to take summer jobs

A new poll shows that saving for college is the number one reason teenagers will take a job this summer, a Junior Achievement Interprise press release states.

The poll, called Teens and Summer Jobs, gathered data from 1,474 teens across the country.

Almost 36 percent identified “save for college” as their primary motivation for summer employment, 2.5 percentage points higher than last year’s results.

“Extra spending money,” the top reason in prior JA Interprise polls, garnered 28 percent, the release states. Four of every five teens indicated that they planned on working this summer.

Rising tuition could be part of the reason.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, the cost of attending a public college has risen 28 percent since 1993. Private college costs have risen 25 percent over the same period after adjustment for inflation, the release states.

“Rising tuition costs may be one reason why a larger percentage of teens are working to pay for college this summer than simply for disposable income,” Dr. Darrell Luzzo, senior vice president of education for JA Worldwide, states in the release.

More than one in four teenagers — 27.5 percent — said they would work in retail and sales for the summer. Restaurants and fast food was a close second at 24.2 percent, rounding out the usual top two year after year.

Baby-sitting and daycare (11.8 percent), office and clerical (10.6 percent), lifeguard and recreation (7.8 percent) and lawn care or landscaping (5.3 percent) comprised the rest of the top six choices. Another 10.8 percent chose “other.”

Almost 30 percent expect to earn more than $7.50 per hour in their summer jobs, slightly higher than last year’s expectations, though there is a difference in wage expectations between the sexes. Just over 36 percent of male teens anticipate earning at least $7.50 an hour, compared to 24.4 percent of females.

The wage disparity may be due partly to male concentration in higher paying jobs such as construction workers and mechanics, the release states.

The poll on Teens and Summer Jobs was in classrooms from January through early March.

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