The number of youth work permits issued in the state continues to drop.
But there is some good news for teens looking for summer work. There are probably the same number of jobs available now as there were last summer.
Nearly 83,100 permits were issued in fiscal year 2008. It dropped to 57,383 in fiscal year 2009. And during the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2010, just 46,085 were issued.
That's a 44 percent drop from 2008 to 2010, surely a sign of the poor economy. The state unemployment rate in April was 9.5 percent.
Here's the bit of good news: The number issued during the prime working season for young workers, which is May 1 to Aug. 31, stayed about the same in 2010 and 2009 - 22,175 vs. 22,535, Neal O'Briant, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Labor, tells me.
The administrator of the Wage and Hour Bureau estimates that this number should be about the same this year for that time period.
State and federal laws limit the kind of work a child can do and how long they can do it. Kids don't need a work permit for informal babysitting arrangements or chores around private homes. But they do need one if they are serving as a lifeguard or making lattes at the coffee shop.
To learn about what's allowed and what isn't, the labor department spells out all the rules. Click here for details.
If your teen lands a job, she can apply for a youth work permit online. Click here for more information.