Youth Summer Hiring in Yamhill County

by Pat O'Connor

November 19, 2019

The summer break from school has traditionally meant a summer job for the youth in Yamhill County. However, in recent decades the share of teens and young adults seeking summer jobs has decreased. Many teens are passing on early work experience opportunities to focus on formal education and other activities during the summer. Coming out of the 2008 recession, youth struggled to find employment as they had to compete with older adults seeking employment. Typically, an adult has more experience and fewer restrictions on the hours they are available to work compared with younger job seekers.   

In the early 1990s, nearly one out of three workers hired in Yamhill County during the summer were youth (ages 14 to 21). In recent years, only about one out of four workers hired in the summer were youth. That trend in hiring was similar statewide. In the summer of 1991, 28 percent of Oregon’s hires were youth. In the summer of 2018, youth hires accounted for only 21 percent of Oregon’s hires.   

In terms of the numbers, peak hiring of youth for summer jobs occurred in 1996, when more than 2,800 were hired in Yamhill County. The low point for summer youth hiring came in 2009; fewer than 1,300 youth were hired that summer. Youth hiring has bounced back since 2009; last summer in 2018 more than 2,100 youth were hired.

The industries that Yamhill County youth work in have shifted over the past 25 years. Agriculture and the food service industry are two large and important industries in Yamhill County, and we see that reflected in youth summer hiring. In 1991, one out of six or 17 percent of the youth hired during the summer worked in accommodation and food services in Yamhill County, many within food services. In 2018, 26 percent of the area’s youth hired that summer worked in accommodation and food services. Statewide, 25 percent of Oregon’s youth hired in the summer of 2018 worked in accommodation and food services.

In 1991, 32 percent of the youth hired that summer worked in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting. In Yamhill County, nearly all of that employment is within agriculture. In 2018, the share of summertime youth hires had decreased to 22 percent of the total summer youth hires in Yamhill County. Although the share of Yamhill County’s youth working in agriculture has decreased over the past 25 years, Yamhill County still has a larger share of youth hired in agriculture compared with Oregon. Statewide only about 8 percent of the summertime youth hires were in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting.          

In 1991, 12 percent of the youth hired during the summer worked in Yamhill County’s manufacturing sector, many within food manufacturing. In 2018, 9 percent of Yamhill County’s youth hired that summer worked in manufacturing. Yamhill County’s manufacturers hire a larger share of youth compared with the state as a whole. Statewide, less than 6 percent of Oregon’s youth hired in the summer of 2018 worked in manufacturing.

Retail trade hires a similar share of Yamhill County’s youth compared with 25 years ago. In 1991, retail trade accounted for 9 percent of the summertime youth hires in the area. In the summer of 2018, it accounted for 10 percent of the youth hires. Statewide, retail trade accounted for nearly 18 percent of the youth hires for the summer of 2018.

Another large sector that now hires a larger share of the area’s youth compared with 25 years ago is health care and social assistance. In the summer of 1991, the industry accounted for 4 percent of youth hires in Yamhill County. In the summer of 2018, it accounted for 8 percent of youth hires in the area.

Future Trends?

Summer youth hires have been on the rise the last three years in Yamhill County. In 2019, the county’s labor market remains very tight as the area experiences a very low unemployment rate. It will be interesting to see if the tight labor market encouraged a higher number of youth in Yamhill County to find a summer job. We will have to wait until 2020 for data to be available to see how things panned out in the summer of 2019 for youth hiring in Yamhill County.


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