Employers hired 157,000 U.S. teenagers in May, marking for one of the strongest starts for summer hiring in years, according to U.S. Labor Department statistics released Friday.

If it continues, the trend will mark good news for a segment of the workforce that has been significantly marginalized by the recession and subsequent slow recovery.

May's hiring of 16-to-19 year olds was the best since 2006, according to an analysis by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Its review found that the 157,000 jump in teen job holders last month was "more than double the 71,000 jobs won by 16- to 19-year-olds in May 2011."

Teen employment has been hampered for several years by recessionary layoffs that pushed thousands of experienced workers into the jobs market.

Many laid-off workers were desperate to replace income and grabbed entry-level jobs normally scooped by teens. They also were willing to work for lower than normal wages.That combined with weak job creation during the last four years boded ill for teenagers looking to get their first job.

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Workers average $30.69 an hour in total wages and benefits.