As summer break approaches and school seasons conclude, teens in California will have a more difficult time finding a job than their demographic counterparts in every other state, according to Census Bureau data released by the Employment Policies Institute.
With 36.2 percent of its teens unable to find employment, California leads all other states in teen unemployment - only the District of Columbia, with its 51.7 percent teen unemployment rate, surpasses the Golden State.
Overall, teen unemployment rose in 17 states and Washington, D.C., between April 2011 and April 2012, and fell in 32 states.
Nationally, the teen unemployment rate stands at 24.9 percent, and has averaged above 20 percent for over 40 months. The number of employed teens fell by 14,000 from March to April 2012.
"Although the jobs outlook has improved slightly for summer 2012, teens searching for summer employment are still faced with more competition and less opportunity than past generations," said Michael Saltsman, research fellow at the EPI, in a statement.
When the analysis is broadened to include discouraged teens that have stopped actively looking for work but would still like a job, nearly every state experiences a jump in their teen unemployment rates, according to EPI analysis.
Economists have shown that the value of a summer job goes beyond a paycheck. Research published in the Journal of Labor Economics found that high schoolers who worked part-time had a greater likelihood of higher wages and better benefits in future employment, as compared to their classmates that didn't have a job.
"Missing out on summer jobs deprives teens of the opportunity to learn responsibility and important skills not taught in the classroom," Saltsman said.