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Youth Bearing the Brunt of the Obama Economy

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

For those workers with decades of experience these last 5 years have been the most bearish job markets most of us can remember; but most of us have been able to find and hold jobs and more or less weather the storm. It has been much harder for young workers who are new to the job markets.

The first November jobs report after the election reveals that real opportunities remain scarce for Millennials.  Youth unemployment is stuck at a staggering 10.9%. For years economic planners worried about how we were going to replace the baby boomers as they entered their retirement years. Now that the children of ‘the greatest generation’ are following their parents into retirement, many of those jobs are just disappearing.

The overall unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds for November 2012 is 10.9 percent. The numbers are Non  Seasonally Adjusted (NSA). It is even worse for minorities. The unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans in November 2012 was a pathetic 18.5 percent (NSA). The unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics for November 2012 is 12.5 percent (NSA). For 18-29 year old women the November unemployment rate is 10.5 percent (NSA).

Worse labor force participation for all age groups has been dropping as workers give up on actually finding jobs. The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.7 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they have given up on looking for work due to the lack of jobs.

According to Generation Opportunity’s Millennial Jobs Report for November 2012 if the labor force participation rate were factored into the 18-29 unemployment calculations, the actual Millennial unemployment rate would rise to 16.4 percent (NSA). Millennials are much less likely to be married that their parents’ generation. In 2011 the average age of first marriage for men had risen to 28.7 and for women it has risen to 26.5 (both the highest in recorded American history).

Even a good education is not the ticket to ride it was for earlier generations. 53% of recent college graduates are either unemployed or are underemployed (likely taking a job away from someone with just a high school diploma). According to a recent study by the Associated Press, Drexel University, and the Economic Policy Institute there are 1.5 million college graduates under age 25 who either have no job or are underemployed. Low income means they have difficulty paying student loans and are unlikely to be able to save money for a down payment to buy a home and this is responsible for much of the slow recovery in the housing market.

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The Republicans led by Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney attempted to use the lack of economic opportunity to motivate the youth vote, but was largely unsuccessful.
Generation Opportunity is a national, non-partisan organization advocating for Millennials ages 18-29.

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