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Teens will compete over summer jobs
Seasonal positions are fewer this year
Heraldo Romero repaints the pool walls to prepare Lake Lanier Islands’ beach and water park for opening day on May 17. While a national report said the summer job market looks dismal for teens, the South Hall resort is one of the local businesses that is hiring seasonal help. - photo by DEMETRIUS FREEMAN

BUFORD — If you’re a teen in search of a summer job, you had best be looking soon. Jobs are out there, but not as many as in the past.

The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston published a report called "The Continued Collapse of the Nation’s Teen Job Market and the Dismal Outlook for the 2008 Summer Labor Market for Teens: Does Anybody Care?"

The report said the 2007 summer job market for teens was the worst since World War II. The national outlook for 2008 is not much better.

"Our predicted summer teen employment rate for this year is only 34.2 percent, a rate below the historical low experienced last summer and 11 percentage points below the summer employment rate of 2000," according to the report.

But one large employer of seasonal workers in the area has the "Help Wanted" sign out.

Lake Lanier Islands is still looking for 40 seasonal workers at its beach and water park. The resort is also looking for an additional 40 workers at its Emerald Pointe resort, where an expanded restaurant and three large luxury villas will be open this season.

"Our biggest season is with the beach and water park," said Nikki Taylor, a spokeswoman for the resort. "We hire lifeguards, as well as people to work concessions and those types of things, as well."

The summer operation is longer than the other seasonal operation, Magical Nights of Lights. The beach and water park will open May 17 and continue through early September.

"This is a heavy push for us to be able to get seasonal workers to come," she said. "Most of our seasonal workers come from local schools."

She said that high school students are readily attracted to the outdoor summer jobs.

"A lot of kids love it because their friends come to the park and they get to hang out with their friends," she said. "It’s a great summer job."

The work week this year will be one day shorter. In an effort to conserve water, the water park will be closed on Mondays this season.

"We’re closing on Mondays this year to keep us well below the requested amount of water reduction," Taylor said. "The water park has very little consumptive water loss. The vast majority of water not only recirculates, but is treated on site and is returned to the lake."

Lake Lanier Islands is not the only place for summer jobs. The Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department hires a number of summer workers for jobs ranging from day camp counselors to lifeguards and attendants at Green Street Pool.

"We’re hiring for aquatics and day camps," said Andi Harmon, a parks and recreation department official. "For day camps, we’ll hire 50 workers and usually a third of our workers return every year."