When Warren Buffett was six years old, he spent his summer selling sticks of gum and bottles of Coca-Cola. When Bill Gates was 16, he spent the summer working as a Congressional page. When Jeff Bezos was 16, he spent the summer flipping burgers for McDonalds.
Summer jobs have been a part of the American success story for decades, but according to a recent report from Pew Research Center, the era of the summer job may be coming to an end. In 2016, 35 percent of 16-to-19-year-olds held a summer job, and the teen labor force participation rate in July was 43.2 percent.
Compare that to 1978, when 58 percent of this group held a summer job, and the teen labor force participation during the month of July was 71.8 percent. Wisconsin's state legislature recently passed a bill that lowered the minimum age for lifeguards to 15 so that the state's many indoor and outdoor waterparks could keep their doors open.
There are several reasons for the "death" of the summer job, among them, an overall decline in youth employment as a result of the Great Recession, and an overall decrease in the number of low-skill, entry-level jobs as a result of dramatic changes in the retail industry.
But beyond these economic realities, there are several other factors that are causing younger generations to buck the summer employment tradition.