Kansas City area businesses turn to teens to fill job openings

Kansas City area businesses turn to teens to fill job openings


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The teen unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been in 68 years, according to a national study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Some metro businesses said they’re seeing a similar trend locally.

“Since 1984 when Marco Polo opened up, we’ve always had teens working in the deli, especially in the summertime, but now, we have a lot more coming in,” said Jasper Mirabile Jr., owner of Jasper’s Italian Restaurant.

One of his youngest employees is 15-year-old Cristhian Reyas who was hired as a bus person a few months ago.

“This is actually my first job. I applied because they needed a busser. I applied, they got me, worked the same day. It just worked out,” Reyas said.

More and more teens are working jobs that adults left behind, deciding not to return after the pandemic.

The teen jobless rate has dropped to 9.6%, when the rate typically varies from 12-14%.

“We are hiring anybody that comes in the door. You have to. That’s just the way it is right now, especially the teens right now are getting better jobs, getting better pay,” Mirabile said.

In June, with Jasper’s also struggling to find workers, the restaurant began offering higher wages to attract interested applicants.

“No one is making minimum wage. I can tell you that,” Mirabile said.

Local Chamber of Commerce sites around the metro tell FOX4 they are still collecting data on actual teen employment rates.

Not every city in the Kansas City metro is seeing the same success with teen employment.

In Overland Park, the chamber spokesperson said they’re still struggling to fill lifeguard positions and other jobs typically filled by teens.

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