California is not the best place for summer jobs

The best places of 2023 for summer jobs

If you’re looking for a part-time job during your time off from school, California isn’t the best place for summer jobs, according to WalletHub.

As summer approaches and labor shortages have many employers looking to hire, personal finance website WalletHub took an in-depth look at the best places for summer jobs 2023, as well as expert commentary.

To help job seekers find the best summer job opportunities, WalletHub compared more than 180 markets in the US across 21 key metrics. The data set ranges from the median income of part-time workers to the availability of summer jobs to the usability of jobs.

better against worse

  • Orlando has the most part-time job openings per 1,000 people ages 16-24 in the workforce, 590.42, which is 28.4 times more than New York, the city with the fewest at 20.76.
  • Scottsdale, Arizona, has the highest median income for part-time workers (adjusted for cost of living), $30,334, which is 3.4 times higher than Burlington, Vermont, the city with the lowest income, $8,894 .
  • South Burlington, Vermont, has the highest labor force participation rate for people ages 16-24, 86.74 percent, which is 2.2 times higher than Irvine, California, the city with the lowest with 38.86 percent.
  • Madison, Wisconsin, has the lowest unemployment rate for people ages 16 to 24, 4.36 percent, which is 6.4 times lower than Detroit, the city with the highest, at 27.73 percent.
  • Fremont, California, has the lowest proportion of people ages 16 to 24 living in poverty, 6.56 percent, which is 9.1 times lower than Burlington, Vermont, the city with the highest at 59, 70 percent.

expert commentary

What advice do you have for a young person looking for a summer job or internship?

“You have to do your research! Find out as much as you can about the organization, the nature of the job, the duties, and the expectations. You want to go in with your eyes wide open. You want to cast a wide net, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. Also, don’t forget to access your social network, talk to friends, colleagues and parents, and ask them to ask. Word of mouth and employee referrals remain tried and true ways to find job and internship opportunities. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is crisp and clean… Don’t overdo it; Focus on knowledge, skills, and abilities that truly reflect reality, not a picture of what you think the employer is looking for. Make sure you have a set of questions to ask them when you go in for the interview… Don’t walk away feeling like you don’t know exactly what you’re going to do… Finally, don’t accept the first offer you get. You’ll want to make sure you look carefully at the homework and job duties to make sure they align with what you want to develop.”
Jose F. Rodriguez, Ph.D. – Industrial-Organizational Psychologist; Associate Professor of Teaching; —Director, Master of Organizational Sciences Program, Florida International University

“Good news: there are many unfilled jobs. Bad news – there are reasons why they are not full so think ahead. First, be intentional when looking for a summer job: Decide in May what, where, when and why you want a job so that you’ll be hired in June. Are you focused only on hours and wages, or would you trade any of that to learn something new or different? Would you tolerate a long commute or even a temporary move, or would you just work from home? Do you work because you want to or because you have to? What could you learn from volunteering this summer instead of taking a paid job? These questions do not have correct answers, but require your answer or you will take a job in June that you will leave in July. Second, there are people you know who can connect you with summer job opportunities, you just don’t know who they are… When you’re looking for a job, for the summer or for a career, don’t wait on the internet or job postings. Everyone in the talent acquisition space knows that the best opportunities don’t get posted, but are filled through networking. The best advice: tell everyone you know, everyone, that you are looking for a job and why.
— Chris Altizer, MBA, MA – Adjunct Professor; Facilitator, Florida International University Leadership Center

What are the most common mistakes young people make when taking a summer job or internship?

“Don’t take it seriously. The fact that it’s a summer concert doesn’t diminish its purpose: to allow you to learn new skills and/or hone existing ones. Even if the summer job/internship doesn’t turn into a full-time job, a common mistake many young people make is not taking it seriously and not taking advantage of the opportunity that is presented to them. Despite its short duration, a summer job or internship can have a lot of impact, especially if you are given the opportunity to learn something new.”
—Jose F. Rodriguez, Ph.D. – Industrial-Organizational Psychologist; Associate Professor of Teaching; Director, Master’s Program in Organizational Sciences, Florida International University

“Regardless of the reason they work, young people must avoid two common mistakes: 1) stay within their comfort zone. The summers before graduation are some of the best times for young people to explore interests they may not have been aware of. If a young person loves one thing, try searching for websites of companies that operate in a somewhat different but related field. Or try working in a completely different field. Summer is a great time to explore and grow. 2) Focusing only on what they are doing. No matter what kind of summer job or internship a teen has, how she gets the job done is just as important as the job she’s doing. Learning about professionalism, teamwork, healthy working relationships, and doing their best in everything they do is essential to getting the most out of the summer experience.”
— E. Christi Cunningham – Professor; Director, Institute for Educational Law, Howard University School of Law

What types of summer jobs/internships will best equip youth with the skills and experience they need to secure a full-time career after graduation?

“What will best equip young people for the future is really based on their mindset and their willingness to learn new things. Rapid changes in technology require young people to be agile in their learning. Take, for example, the explosive effects of ChatGPT and similar AI. Young people must be willing to learn how this technology works, what are the drawbacks[s]And where the potential lies. Therefore, jobs/internships that will expose them to different experiences that will then build their skills will be vital. The type of job/internship may not matter as much as the mindset a person has for learning and developing their skills. Therefore, regardless of the type of job/internship, one must take an honest look at their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Know your strengths and know your shortcomings. The best jobs/internships will be the ones that are willing to help develop those deficit areas and also allow young people to hone their strengths.”
—Jose F. Rodriguez, Ph.D. – Industrial-Organizational Psychologist; Associate Professor of Teaching; Director, Master’s Program in Organizational Sciences, Florida International University

“Jobs are changing so fast now that focusing on job-specific skills is less valuable than in previous generations, let alone trades (although that too is changing). While summer jobs typically involve more repetitive tasks, whether it’s making copies or mowing the lawn, the question is, what can you learn and practice that will be valued anywhere? What can you learn about working well in a team, prioritizing work, adapting to change? What can you learn about how to communicate with an angry customer or a difficult coworker? The key word in these examples is ‘learn’. In younger people, employers value learning agility: how quickly and well a person learns and applies what it takes to be successful right now. Learning agility is a trait and a skill you can develop, but no one will send you to class for it. What kinds of jobs will equip you best? The kind that gives you the opportunity to learn something you don’t know, even if it’s how to get through a drab summer job with grace and a sense of humor. Each and every job has that potential, and so do you.”
— Chris Altizer, MBA, MA – Adjunct Professor; Facilitator, Florida International University Leadership Center

To see the full report and ranking for your city, visit:

image sources

  • Newspaper with Summer Job Vacancy Ads: Shutterstock