FORTUNE -- The dreary employment numbers announced last week masked one scrap of good news for job-seeking teens (and their parents): The number of companies looking to bring on extra help for the summer has risen sharply over last year, and average pay for these positions, at $11.50 an hour (up from $10.90 in 2012), is at its highest point in six years.
So says the latest annual survey of summer hiring from Snagajob, a job site for hourly workers which posts openings at hundreds of companies, including Home Depot (HD), Dunkin Donuts (DNKN), Marshalls (TJX), Pizza Hut (YUM), and Toys R Us. The number of hiring managers who don't plan to add any summer staff has dropped from 45% to 31%, according to the poll of about 1,000 employers, and those expanding their summer payrolls plan to add an average of 30 seasonal workers, up from 27 last year.
One in three (33%) of hiring managers say it will be "easy" for teens to find a job this year -- 4% more than last year and a 13% increase since 2010.
"This should be the best summer for hourly workers we've seen in several years," notes Jason Hamilton, a Snagajob vice president.
That may seem surprising, considering that retailers, a major source of seasonal work, shed 24,000 jobs in March, more than any other single sector of the economy. But some analysts see that drop in employment as a temporary blip, brought on by unusually cold weather in many parts of the U.S. that put a damper on spring sales at clothing stores and home-improvement emporiums. A more encouraging sign for summer: Recent upticks in personal income and household spending, which could translate into more shopping, vacationing, and eating out in the warmer months ahead.
First-time job hunters are especially welcome this year, as the Snagajob survey says most hiring managers expect fewer former employees to return than in 2012. "It's one of the best summers we've seen for new job seekers to get a foot in the door," says Hamilton. Asked what they look for in applicants, employers ranked a positive attitude No. 1, followed by "willingness to work the schedule a manager needs." Previous experience came in third.
Anyone hoping to land a summer gig should start applying right away: More than half of seasonal hiring happens in the next six weeks, the survey says. Companies expect to fill 77% of their openings by the end of May.
Ray Lane has stepped down as HP's chairman, but he needs to leave the board entirely. And interim chairman Ralph Whitworth needs to rework the board's composition.
FORTUNE -- Ray Lane's reign at Hewlett Packard ended Thursday, and employees should be pleased. While the former HP chair and, more recently executive chair, will remain a director, he will no longer run the HP board. Ralph Whitworth, a shareholder activist and HP MOREEleanor Bloxham, CEO of The Value Alliance - Apr 5, 2013 10:31 AM ET
Some successful companies thrive on internal competition, giving many a manager the brilliant idea that they should try it at their own office. Think again. By Shelley DuBoisShelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Jan 25, 2012 12:45 PM ET
Our path to a full economic recovery may be sluggish, but "Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe argues that it couldn't hurt if we keep an eye out for opportunities in the mud.
FORTUNE -- To catch a bloodworm, you have to wade knee-deep in Maine mudflats and dig in the muck. Now, you have to be careful handling these creatures, which have alien-looking mouths and four black teeth that sting like MOREShelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Dec 20, 2011 11:06 AM ET
The U.S. government is fighting to keep American companies from having to comply with new EU carbon taxes, but airlines must prepare for the worst-case scenario. Here are a few options.
FORTUNE -- The skies are not looking too friendly these days, at least for an airline. Already crunched by high fuel prices and struggling customers, airlines will face tougher rules on carbon emissions for flights landing and taking off in MOREShelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Dec 15, 2011 12:14 PM ET
Companies that go for long stretches without a CEO could be recruiting in the wrong places. By Shelley DuBoisShelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Dec 7, 2011 12:14 PM ET
It may seem nebulous, but the movement against corporate America is developing a structure, and tapping into tech to stay alive.Shelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Dec 7, 2011 11:35 AM ET
Looking for new ways to manage your troops? Some tips from New York Philharmonic conductor Alan Gilbert.
It's not easy to find a management book that has anything approaching a fresh idea. Maybe that's why people looking to become change agents are turning to unusual sources for their leadership fix. Navy SEALS, chefs, and, of course, pro sports coaches have all weighed in with popular advice books.
Even musical maestros are getting MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Mar 29, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Sunil Kumar, Chicago Booth's new dean, faces the danger that the business school will rest too heavily on laurels largely earned by his predecessor.
By John A. Byrne, contributor
(poetsandquants.com) -- Nearly two months into his job as the new dean of Chicago's Booth School of Business, Sunil Kumar sits in an office with a bird's eye view of the dramatic façade of the Rockefeller Memorial MOREFeb 28, 2011 10:50 AM ET
Stylish eyewear, full-service publicity, and specialized home goods: The entrepreneurs behind these three ventures deliver where the big guys don't.
By Jessica Shambora, reporter
Kayos Productions vs. Rogers and Cowan
The challenge: Can a boutique music-publicity firm upstage larger agencies with offices around the world?
What they did: Carol Kaye had tallied 10 years as a music industry publicist when she started her own gig, Kayos, in 1988. Today she still can't match MOREFortune Editors - Dec 7, 2010 3:00 AM ET
|Boost for trade as global deal struck|
|Someone bought a $100,000 Tesla with Bitcoins|
|2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack|
|Five key numbers behind the jobs recovery|
|Economy is improving but why doesn't it feel that way?|