Federal funding simply hasn't come through for many potential employers and that means fewer available jobs.
The New York State Labor Commissioner spoke in Brooklyn about the grim reality.
"Young people need these jobs to get into the workforce. The number one predictor of success later on in life is early exposure to work," said Colleen Gardner, the New York State Labor Commissioner.
In White Plains, more than 400 people were vying for just 227 positions at a job fair for people 14 to 21-years-old.
With that kind of competition, applicants know they'll need a special dose of determination and persistence to land that cherished summer employment.
"I'm dressed to impress, good eye contact, make a good first impression, do what I got to do to get this job," said Michael Graham-Walker, a job applicant.
According to the Labor Commissioner, New York State's youth faces an unemployment rate that right now hovers around 18%.
That's the highest it has ever been.
The young people Eyewitness News spoke with are trying to bring that figure down with a pair of words they soon hope to hear, "You're hired".