With the overall unemployment rate edging up to 9.6 percent in August, from 9.5 percent, the unemployment rate for those under 25 hit 18.3 percent in June, July and August, USA Today reported Tuesday.
For August, 47.6 percent of the 16-24 age bracket were working, a record low for the worker category the Labor Department has monitored since 1948, the newspaper said.
Government jobs for youths suffered from budget cuts, while one of the mainstays of employment for younger workers, restaurants, has been slow to hire in a sluggish economy.
The competition for jobs at restaurants has also been stiffer than normal, as older workers are clinging to jobs.
"Restaurant operators report a much wider variety of applications to chose from," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association.
The paucity of summer of jobs means less money in students' pockets to pay for textbooks at the same time more students head back to school to increase their competitiveness.
"We've seen an explosion in students coming back because the job market has turned south," Colleen Hartfield, a vice president at Hinds Community College, told USA Today.
"People are trying to prepare themselves for a very tight job market."