Adults vs. Teens for Summer Jobs

Adults vs. Teens for Summer JobsABC News
In Face of Joblessness, Adults Target Summer Jobs That Usually Go to Teens

When the large group of lifeguard applicants stands together on the Daytona, Fla., beach, a few of them immediately stand out.

In a job pool where the average applicant is 17 years old, 34-year-old Troy Logan, 32-year-old Kevin Kortz and 46-year-old Jon Merwin have pulled on swim trunks in hopes of beating out the teenagers for a few choice positions as $9.37 an hour lifeguards.

In a state with the fourth-highest unemployment rate, the lifeguard jobs are some of the few positions available in the Daytona Beach area where more than 10,000 jobs have disappeared in the last year.

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"It's a sign of the times," Capt. Scott Petersohn, lifeguard supervisor for the Volusia County Beach Patrol, told "Good Morning America." "It's good for us to have those people come out but, you know, these gentlemen and ladies would prefer to be doing what they've been doing for the past several years."

This year, 160 applicants are competing for 50 summer jobs.

"It's definitely an eye-opening experience," Logan said of the lifeguard tryout. "I actually had one of my students in the recruit class."

Kortz, a former Marine, tried out for the lifeguard position because he "tried other avenues and it didn't work out.

"In this day and age, I have to have a job because I have to provide for my family. So this is the way to get on with a beach patrol," he said.

"I definitely didn't picture myself in this position, but it's definitely one of those jobs that I've always wanted to do," Logan said.

Logan's wife works full time as a dental assistant, and Logan said that between the two of them, they can make it work.

"It definitely doesn't allow enough time for the family as I would like, but you have to feed your two children and pay the bills," he said.

Though science says the body's organs begin to decline after the age of 30, all the men held their own in the 500-meter ocean swim test, finishing in the middle of the pack of teens.

Teens Hit Hard in Tough Times

Already, 18 percent of 12-to-17-year-olds reported working with more adults and former retirees, according to a February survey by Junior Achievement.

The competition has left many jobless and frustrated.

Last summer, the hiring environment already was difficult. In June 2008, just 32.7 percent of teens worked, down from 45 percent for the same period in 2000, according to a report by USA Today.

Now, unemployment among teens is at its highest since 1992.

Amusement parks, like the Six Flags chain, have become another target for unemployed adults, many displacing teens from their usual gigs.

Six Flags spokesperson Sandra Daniels told USA Today the theme park has "definitely seen more adult [applicants] this year.

"We've seen retirees. We've seen people who have been laid off," she said.

Click here for more information on lifeguarding from the American Lifeguard Assocation.