Donovan Larkin pedals his bike across Salt Lake City every day, stopping at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores and hoping to find a sign in the window reading "Help Wanted."
After nearly a year of seeking employment, the 18-year-old, soon-to-be-father said he has become discouraged more than once.
"I've gone on my bike to literally every store around me. They've all turned me down."
Larkin, of Salt Lake City, is not the only teen discouraged in the hunt for a job.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics's monthly unemployment report released Friday revealed that the jobless rate among teens tops 23 percent. The report, which highlighted changes in overall employment for June, put the national unemployment figure at 8.2 percent, exactly where it stood for the month of May and marking the third consecutive month of weak job growth .
The economy added only 80,000 jobs, signaling that the U.S. is in a summer slump for the third year in a row.
Although Utah's unemployment rate is lower, at 6 percent, no official statistic exists in the state to measure the unemployment rate among teens.
But Mark Knold, chief economist at the Department of Workforce Services, said he is not surprised that nationally nearly one in four teens is considered out of work.
"Teens are always at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to the labor market," Knold said. "That's just how it is."
He doesn't expect that the employment picture for young and old alike will improve when Utah's next round of numbers comes out in two weeks.
"I'm not expecting much change from now to the end of fall," he said.
Nationally, the Federal Reserve predicts that the unemployment rate will not change much the rest of this year.
That's especially tough news for teens.
Tammy Champo, a representative of the Utah Division of Youth Services, said the increased competition for lower-level jobs has led some teens to abandon their searches.
"It's really a deterrent for the kids," Champo said. "When they see [that] and realize they are pretty inexperienced, they just get disheartened."
Jordan Barrett, 16, has sought employment for more than three months. He said once employers learn his age, they often turn him away on the spot.
The Salt Lake City resident has been taking leadership classes through the Lifting Youth to Future Employment (LYFE) program to earn money. The program, sponsored by the federal Workforce Initiative Act, provides initiatives for disadvantaged youth ages 14 though 21 to continue their education, seek employment and gain leadership skills.
Barrett and Larkin are working through the LYFE program to get their GEDs. They said taking that step in their education will add to their resumes and perhaps improve their chances of becoming employed.
For some younger Utahns, finding work isn't as challenging. After updating his resume with the help of LYFE counselors, Joe Martinez, 20, was able to obtain a job with the U.S. Postal Service.
"I was surprised at how easy it was," said Martinez, of Salt Lake City.
Although the position might not have been his first choice, he won't complain. "It's OK, because at least I have a job."
LYFE program supervisor Angie Madsen said employers frequently shy away from younger applicants in favor of older ones because the latter offer more experience. But without the opportunities to gain more know-how, teens continue searching for jobs with limited portfolios.
"These kids have it so tough," Madsen said. "They're being set up for failure."
Although frustrated by his search, Larkin said he and other teens like him just have to keep trying.
"You just have to go with what you can get in the economy we're dealing with," he said."If they say, 'No,' you just have to get on to the next one."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Job -hunting tips for teens
Network with friends and family to learn about job openings and to get referred for open positions.
Check online listings and business websites.
Contact an employer directly to determine whether the company is hiring. If it is not, it may be able to store applications for a later time when hiring picks up.
Source: Utah Department of Workforce Services
Where to get assistance, job leads
Lifting Youth to Future Employment (LYFE) program, 801-468-0115