Young adults may be having the hardest time in this economy
The number of people applying for new unemployment benefits rose more than expected in the week ended March 23, reaching the highest level since mid-February. But while analysts cautioned against reading too much into the short-term numbers, noting that the job market has been improving over the longer stretch, one group seems to be struggling more than others in this economy: so called millennials.
For young adults between the ages of 18 and 29, the unemployment rate is 12.5%, and it rises to over 16% when taking into account those who have given up looking for work, says Evan Feinberg, president of Generation Opportunity, a non-profit think-tank based in Arlington, Va. When including all 18-to-29 year-olds, Feinberg says, that higher rate remained persistently over 16% throughout 2012. That comes even as the overall jobless rate has fallen to 7.7%, the lowest level in four years.
Why is it tougher for teens and young adults? Jobs that typically went to recent college graduates are increasingly going to older Americans, who have more experience but are willing to stay in lower-paying, entry-level jobs in the absence of better options, say experts. “Young people suffer disproportionately when the economy doesn’t grow,” he says. “It’s tougher for them to break into the workforce.”
College graduates are not immune. A recent Rutgers University study found that only a half of those who graduated since 2006 are now employed full time. As a result, many are forced to say home with mom and dad and face a future of paying off hefty student loans on less-than-adequate salaries. In fact, college graduates who obtained their first job between 2009 and 2011 earned an average of $27,000 a year, or 10% less than those who entered the workforce in the two previous years, the Rutgers survey found. “An entire generation of Americans won’t know what it means to live the American dream,” Feinberg says.
Once in the workforce, experts say this younger generation may have a tougher time building wealth than their parents. A study released earlier this month by the Urban Institute found that those aged 29 to 37 were 21% less wealthy in 2010 than that same age group in 1983.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, millennials’ younger brothers and sisters seems to have an increasingly negative view of their job prospects. A quarter of teenagers say they will be 25 to 27 years old before they become financially independent from their parents, up from 12% in 2011, according to a poll released this week by Junior Achievement USA.
Like several of the prior commenters, I attach a lot of blame on the current Administration and their policy of sustainable (aka "non") growth. Young people need to realize that they are at the bottom of the ladder as far as experience goes. No, it is not a conspiracy; just a factor of number of years being alive. Education, while helpful, is not experience. You can only get experience by having a job. Jobs where people with little or no experience are scarce. Why, because they do not contribute to the bottom-line. The best way to create jobs for inexperienced people is to have economic growth, not 1% or 2%, but economic growth that causes companies to expand beyond adding machines and adding hours to existing workers, but expanding because they need more people, not for today, but for tomorrow. When you have an Administration that is hostile to business and hostile to growth, your not going to get that.
Speaking from my own experience, typically this demographic has an entitled attitude and lacks a work ethic. When you find one that was raised right, hold onto them. He/She is the gold nugget in a pile of rocks.