In the past, there has been a widely held view that if you followed the appropriate career development process, you could generally count on building a fairly successful future. Go to college, get your degree, apply for a job, work hard, and you are well on your way to achieving the American Dream. However, this generation of “twenty-somethings” are finding that the current job market is looking less like the American Dream and more like a battle of spoons- race to grab the last remaining job before your fellow grad. The Wall Street Journal is calling this phenomena Generation Jobless:”
The current slump has been longer and deeper: The unemployment rate has been above 16% for 32 months—and counting. For 29 of those months, the rate has been above 17%, reaching a record 19.5% in April of last year.
Paralyzed by a painful economy, some young adults have decided to forgo college degrees, graduate school or even the search for full-time work. Others are working temporary or odd jobs just to get by. Many have moved back in with their parents.
Unemployment is particularly acute for young men. In the 16 to 24 age group, 18% of males lacked jobs last month, compared with 15.3% of females. That is partly because the worst-hit sectors, such as construction, employ more men than women. Female-dominated sectors—health care and education, for example—have done better.
This painful reality has it’s psychological implications as well:
Meanwhile, a National Bureau of Economic Research paper in 2009 found that people between ages 18 and 25 who experience recessions believe that success in life depends more on luck than effort, support government-redistribution programs and have less faith in public institutions.
Senior Fellow Robert Higgs famously refers to this unwanted conundrum as the “regime uncertainty”. Companies are in no position to hire new personel. With confidence in prospective opportunities on a decline, the economic forecast seems even more grim. A recent MyGovCost post“U.S. Regulatory Tsunami Is Destroying Jobs” explains:
“The Obama administration has created a regulatory environment that is suffocating America’s entrepreneurs’ ability to create jobs and grow business,” writes committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, Republican from California. “The result has been a regulatory tsunami that has stifled productivity, wages, job creation and economic growth.”
When the leaders of our nation’s future are dubbed “Generation Jobless”, it is adamantly clear that something is just not working.
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