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America’s Lost Generation

America’s Lost Generation

Should millennials be known as “Generation Wait”? According to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the term captures the frustrations facing young adults today. Still feeling the lingering effects of the recession, millennials are more likely than ever before to be living with their parents and not in school, at work or participating in the labor market.

As the Associated Press reports:

  • Roughly 1 in 5 young adults ages 25 to 34 is now disconnected from work and school.
  • U.S. mobility for young adults has fallen to the lowest level since 1963.
  • Homeownership among adults 25–29 dropped from 2007 to 2012 from 40.6% to 34%.

So what does this tell us? That millennials are getting the raw end of the deal.

Millions are entering the workforce at a time of high youth unemployment and general economic uncertainty. Of those young workers able to find a job, more than 20% are only employed part-time. Earning paychecks in an economy stymied by stagnant and declining median wages, many are simultaneously paying back billions of dollars in student loans. While income-based repayment plans provide a measure of relief for some, this generation is significantly less able to save money than those who came before it.

These newly released Census numbers provide additional insight into the disheartening economic prospects of young people. They confirm previous research that found cash-strapped millennials are avoiding major purchases and cannot afford to escape living at home with mom and dad.

So will America’s young workers experience a great economic boom? Can we, as a nation, invest in our young workforce and provide them with the opportunity to achieve the American Dream? Or will this be the first generation of working people who are less successful than their parents? The jury is out and the clock is ticking.

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