MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — More teenagers are on the lookout for jobs this summer, the state says.

A job market forecast from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget shows that more than 200,000 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 are looking or have summer jobs. That is almost half of the state’s teenage population. 

“Teens this summer should hopefully expect few barriers to entry enter in terms of entering the labor market,” said Dylan Schaffer, a federal state program manager for the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics. 

In the summer, more seasonal job opportunities are available for teenagers, like working at a water park or marina. Schafer believes the forecast could be because of an increase in wages and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“People are certainly going out more so now. I assume and I can see that certainly making an impact on teens, especially this summer,” Schaffer said. 

Young adults are also figuring out their careers this summer. For 23-year-old Benjamin Mbongya, he chose to start his own business. He is a fashion designer and he creates traditional African clothes. 

“I’m excited because I’ll do whatever I want,” Mbongya said. 

He worked with West Michigan Works!, an organization that helps people prepare for and find employment. 

“We have certain supports that we can provide and that this is going to help them build that future career for themselves and determine where they want to go with their lives,” Chad Patton, the director of development and innovation for West Michigan Works!, said. 

On the lakeshore, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce is seeing more and more teenagers applying for jobs. 

“We’re starting to get reports that more teenagers are looking for summer employment,” Cindy Larsen, the president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, said. 

She is happy to see teens working in Muskegon and said it is great for the tourism industry. 

“Some businesses make all their money during tourism season, so we need to make sure that our places are fully staffed and ready to go for all the tourists that are coming to the lakeshore,” Larsen added. 

She advised teens applying for their first job to have a positive attitude, be willing to adapt and communicate with their employer.