Summer jobs are collapsing

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

You probably already know that employment is higher when it’s hot outside. Summer jobs are common in quite a few industries, including restaurants, hotels, arts and recreation — but things are changing.

When working with the labor data, such as statistics provided by the Current Population Survey (CPS), it’s essential to pay attention to the seasonality in the data. The total number of jobs across all industries is at highest in June and July, with August numbers being not too far behind.

But this chart only shows the average numbers across the last 15 years. Let’s see how the total number of summer jobs has changed during this time.

To do this, we use the state-of-the-art ARIMA-X13 method to seasonally adjust the monthly CPS numbers. The difference between the actual number and the seasonally adjusted one shows us the number of “seasonal” jobs recorded each month. We average the numbers for three summer months each year to account for sample variation.

Here’s the chart showing the resulting numbers, year-by-year.

So, the total number of summer jobs nationwide was relatively stable at around 1.1 million in the 2000’s. What happened next was it began to decrease rapidly — down to just over 750,000 during the last year.

Let’s see which industries suffered the most in terms of summer employment:

So, there are now less extra jobs in summer in construction and agriculture. Wholesale trade and information-related summer jobs are virtually non-existent now. To top it off, there is also now a sharp mid-year decrease in employment in retail trade.


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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

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