Author(s): The Young Invincibles
- Rory O’Sullivan
- Konrad Mugglestone
- Tom Allison
Published: January 2014
“Throughout the deepest recession and the slowest recovery since World War II, young adults in America have walked an exceptionally difficult road. The cohort of “Millennials” aged 18 to 34 have now seen double-digit unemployment rates for over 70 consecutive months, or almost six years. The youngest workers, aged 16 to 24, are even worse off, with unemployment rates well over twice the national average—at 15 percent versus an average for the full working population of 7.3 percent. Moreover, we have made little progress toward recovery.
In prior downturns, the employment rate for young adults nearly reached pre-recession levels within 5 years. In the Great Recession, young adult employment had not even recovered halfway by the same point. A quarter of all job losses for young adults came after the Great Recession was officially over. The lack of jobs has driven many discouraged young people from the labor force altogether. A recent report by Opportunity Nation estimates that 5.8 million young adults are neither working nor in school.
The best evidence warns that lack of work experience now will lead to dismal consequences for these jobless young people down the road in the form of repressed wages, decreased employment, and reduced productivity. By one calculation, young Americans aged 20 to 24 will lose about $21.4 billion in earnings over the next 10 years. That’s roughly $22,000 less per person than they could have expected had they not suffered through the recession.
However, our generation’s challenges extend beyond each individual’s struggle, or even this generation’s struggle: the young adult unemployment crisis affects everyone. Every year of historically high young adult unemployment means lower tax revenue and higher safety net expenditures for federal and state governments. Taxpayers of all generations bear the burden.”
-from the report