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Back to the Future: Will America’s Young Workers Find Good-Paying Jobs?

Photo by Victor1558/Flickr

The past decade has not been kind to America’s young workers. Coming of age in an era of declining median wages, skyrocketing income inequality and increasing college costs, the young American workforce has had much less success than the generations that came before it. 

As Think Progress reported, Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute released a new study on Monday. Titled Failure to Launch, the study examined how the 2000s were a lost decade for Generation Y. Among its most notable highlights:

  • The percent of young adults who were employed fell from 84% in 2000 to 72% in 2012. This is the lowest share of young adults in the workforce since 1972.
  • Employment statistics are even worse for young African Americans and Hispanics. The gap between employed young white workers and black workers grew from 6% in 2000 to 14% in 2012.
  • More than 20% of workers across demographics are only employed part-time.
  • The full-time employment rate of high school graduates decreased by 13% between 2000 and 2012, and by 8% for college graduates.

Battered by the recession and pessimistic about their future, young adults are either unable to find a job or are choosing to stay out of the labor force for a longer period of time, according to the report. Either way, it’s concerning.

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