Teen summer employment had its strongest start this season in seven years, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
Teenagers had been competing with older, displaced workers during the economic recovery, but have recently made some strides in the retail sector, which has traditionally hired young workers.
About 994,000 teens, ages 16 to 19, have found jobs so far, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures the firm analyzed. The figures are not adjusted for seasonality, but year-over-year comparisons show that the labor market has been able to absorb young workers.
In June, 779,000 teenagers found jobs, according to BLS figures. That's down from 858,000 in June 2012. Still, 2013 could prove to be better than 2012, when 1.4 million teenagers found work in the months of May, June and July.
The firm, however, cautioned that teen employment prospects could waver as the summer progresses. In addition to a competitive job market, teens also face dimming work prospects at the mall, said John A. Challenger, the firm's chief executive.
"As more and more Americans flock to the Internet for their shopping needs, traditional brick-and-mortar stores are seeing traffic decline along with the need for extra summer employees," Challenger said.
Teens, however, may be able to find work in nontraditional jobs, he added. They include positions at trampoline centers, large bowling alleys with arcades, movie theaters offering full-service dining and pools with water slides.