The economy continues to improve and that means teens across New Jersey will have an easier time finding a summer job.

There will be plenty of jobs available for teens this summer. (VIPDesignUSA, ThinkStock)
There will be plenty of jobs available for teens this summer. (VIPDesignUSA, ThinkStock)

According to its annual teen summer job outlook, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc. found that employment among 16-to 19-year-olds is at its highest non-summer level since 2009 and is expected to increase as school lets out and seasonal job opportunities expand.

"It's part of the good story of the economy slowly recovering. When you compare it to the situation even a year or two years ago, we're in much better shape. That means there are more summer jobs. I think a source of those jobs, the Jersey Shore, is in better shape because we've begun to recover from the worst circumstances from the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy," said Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. "We're not back to where we were 10 years ago, but we're trending in the right direction which means more jobs for young people who want to work this summer."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teen employment increased by 1,297,000 jobs during the summer months of May, June and July last year. That was down 4.3 percent from the previous year. Despite the decline in teen job gains, the overall number of employed 16 to 19 year olds was actually higher last year. In July, 5,553,000 teenagers were employed, up from 5,504,000 in July 2013.

When it comes to jobs teens generally gravitate to retail, the tourism industry and so-called "mom and pop shops," according to Van Horn, who also advises young workers to take a job that they can stick with.

"Teens should take a job that is close to home and easy to get to.  It's important to have a good experience because if they do a good job, they may be asked back the following summer," Van Horn said. "If you don't want to serve ice cream on the weekend, don't take that job because if you're employer wants you to do that, you have to be available to do it.  Make a realistic assessment of what you're capable of doing and what you're interested in doing."