Teens still spending, but Black Friday holiday outlook murky

The teen market looms enormous for retailers. Department stores such as Macy's and JCPenney are always trying to invent new ways to attract young shoppers, and the end of the recession is a crucial time to win over Generation Y consumers. Even more pressing: The upcoming holiday shopping season challenges retailers to figure out what will get this group to spend.

Although 2010 teen unemployment rates stand at a record high, teen spending is increasing as we inch our way out of the Great Recession. Turns out that even when unemployed, teens have a leg up on adults when it comes to spending freely and without consequence. With more time on their hands, teens can plan their day around trips to the mall and other outlet stores. Social pressures also make it easy to feed into consumer culture: Why not burn last week's allowance on accessories at American Eagle or games from GameStop, if it keeps your friends interested?