Theme park season pass prices way down, job applications way up

It's a roller coaster economy, even for roller coaster jobs.

America's seasonal theme parks are filling their rosters for the summer, and across the board, they're finding job applications by multiples of what they received last year. Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey expected as many as 18,000 applications for just 4,100 positions. North Carolina's Carowinds usually has 1,000 applications by this point, but this year, it already has about 3,400. Holiday World, a popular Indiana park, saw interest shoot from 767 applications last year to 1,797 over three job fairs this year.

It's long been an industry joke that pimply-faced teen-agers are the ones who are traditionally in charge of America's thrill rides. The Clearasil set makes for our generation's carnies. This year, though, the job market is so tough that grown adults are officially crowding teens and college kids out of the running. Six Flags in St. Louis recently reported a 50% increase in applications, many of them displaced from unsteady industries like construction.