Good news for young people who want a summer job: This year stacks up to be the best in recent years for seasonal work.

An annual SnagAJob survey of employers has asked each year if they intended to hire summer workers. In 2008, 49 percent of the employers said no. Last year, the "no hiring" percentage was down to 45 percent, and this year it's 31 percent.

Many summer jobs, especially in white-collar fields, are styled as student internships. Many are unpaid career-development positions. Competition for those internships is tough, paid or not, and most recipients applied and knew by earlier this year if they were chosen.

For job hunters who still plan to look for summer opportunities, the big message is to get busy now. Traditionally, April and May are the big hiring months for those jobs.

SnagAJob, which operates a website geared to entry-level hourly jobs, said this year's seasonal survey indicated that average pay is likely to rise a bit. The 1,005 hiring managers surveyed nationally said their seasonal jobs were going to pay an average of $11.50 an hour, up from $10.90 last summer.

Summer job applicants need to have realistic expectations in terms of pay, though. The national minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, so that could very well be the pay offered. (Some states have higher minimums. Missouri's base, for example, is $7.35 an hour; Washington's has hit $9.19.)

Here's a reality injection: Even if this may be best summer job market in six years, it still favors employers. There will be plenty of competition for jobs, and hirers can be choosy. Don't expect to waltz in after the last day of school and land a nice spot.



To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to Follow her online at and


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