The 10 best U.S. cities for finding a summer job


Summer is here — and as temperatures climb, so does the demand for seasonal workers.

A continuing labor shortage and an imminent spike in travel demand have left employers desperate to hire, with many increasing wages for lifeguards, camp counselors, and amusement park attendants, among other positions. 

This summer’s job prospects are especially strong for teenagers and young adults: New research from the Drexel University Center for Labor Markets and Policy projects that the employment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds this summer will reach 32.8%, the highest rate in 15 years. 

Some places, however, offer better seasonal opportunities than others — at least according to a new report from WalletHub, which identifies the best U.S. cities for summer jobs. 

To determine the list, the personal finance website compared 182 cities, including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, across two key dimensions: the youth job market, the social environment, and the affordability of each location. 

More than 20 metrics were used, including the median income of part-time workers, the number of summer job openings, access to public transportation, and Covid-19 vaccination rates, and metrics were weighted differently. To calculate the overall score, each city’s weighted average across all metrics was used.

Here are the 10 best U.S. cities for summer jobs, according to WalletHub

Source: WalletHub

1. Orlando, Florida

Total score: 60.02

Youth job market ranking: 1

Social environment and affordability ranking: 16

2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

Total score: 59.44

Youth job market ranking: 2

Social environment and affordability ranking: 13

3. Columbia, Maryland

Total score: 58.44 

Youth job market ranking: 7

Social environment and affordability ranking: 8

4. Scottsdale, Arizona 

Total score: 58.22 

Youth job market ranking: 3

Social environment and affordability ranking: 24

5. Juneau, Alaska 

Total score: 56.76 

Youth job market ranking: 5

Social environment and affordability ranking: 23

6. Warwick, Rhode Island

Total score: 56.20 

Youth job market ranking: 4

Social environment and affordability ranking: 55

7. Rapid City, South Dakota

Total score: 55.13 

Youth job market ranking: 8

Social environment and affordability ranking: 52

8. Portland, Maine

Total score: 54.76 

Youth job market ranking: 23 

Social environment and affordability ranking: 3

9. Huntington Beach, California

 Total score: 53.82

Youth job market ranking: 9

Social environment and affordability ranking: 42

10. Garden Grove, California 

Total score: 53.73

Youth job market ranking: 12

Social environment and affordability ranking: 36

It’s no coincidence that several of the cities on WalletHub’s list are popular vacation spots — Orlando, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Scottsdale, Arizona — that attract tourists all year round, especially in the hotter months, when more people have time off from work and school. 

When thinking about where to work this summer, Maura J. Mills, an associate management professor at the University of Alabama, told WalletHub that networking opportunities, availability of entry-level jobs in your desired industry, affordability, and public transportation access are all “critical” to consider. 

“Keep an open mind, of course, and try new things,” she said. “But don’t go somewhere you know you don’t want to be.”

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