Young workers across the board are struggling to keep their heads above water. They’ve put off adulthood—put off having kids, put off education—and a full 34 percent of workers under 35 live with their parents for financial reasons, according to a new report just released by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the AFL-CIO. The deterioration of young workers’ economic situation over the past 10 years is alarming.
And the situation doesn’t seem to be improving. Unemployment numbers a few weeks ago reported that about 1.7 million fewer teenagers and young adults were employed in July than a year before, hitting a record low of 51.4 percent. The percentage of young American men who are actually working is the lowest it has been in the 61 years of record-keeping, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.
Highlights found In Young Workers: The Lost Decade:
· Young workers are having more trouble than ever getting ahead financially. Times are even tougher for young workers of color, workers without college degrees and many women.
· Compared with older workers, workers younger than 35 are significantly less likely to be covered by health insurance or have retirement plans at their jobs, and are more likely to be unemployed. Today, 31 percent of young workers report being uninsured, up from 24 percent 10 years ago. Only 47 percent have retirement plans at work, down 6 percentage points from 1999.
· Only 31 percent say they make enough money to cover their bills and put some money aside—22 percentage points fewer than in 1999—while 24 percent make less than they need just to pay their monthly bills.
· With higher unemployment rates in 2009 than young workers faced in 1999, it’s hard to find a job. But it’s even harder to find a good job. More than one in three young workers worry they will not be able to find a permanent, fulltime job with benefits.
· Only 65 of every 100 men aged 20 through 24 years old were working on any given day in the first six months of this year. In the age group 25 through 34 years old, traditionally a prime age range for getting married and starting a family, just 81 of 100 men were employed.
· For male teenagers, the numbers were disastrous: only 28 of every 100 males were employed in the 16- through 19-year-old age group. For minority teenagers, the numbers are catastrophic.
To read the full report: The Lost Decade
It’s an incredibly tough market out there right now. You hear about how awful the economy is but until you become unemployed and experience it first hand to understand. At 24, and freshly unemployed in May I revamped my resume and took on my job hunt with vigor. There were cover letters, e-mails, and unreturned phone calls. When all was said and done I had earnestly applied for about fifty jobs, most of which I was overqualified for.
I was rewarded in the end (and I know I’m lucky), but I can’t imagine what it’s like for the thousands upon thousands of people who aren’t fortunate enough to stumble upon that right opportunity at the right time.
And yet, there are scores of town hall screamers trying desperately to hold on to their dwindling health care in a broken system. Do we really want to wait 30 years until this situation becomes untenable? Alas, with the dearth of informed people on this subject operating as insurance company puppets, I fear the answer…