While the threat of falling off the fiscal cliff didn’t deter the American workforce from growing by 155,000 jobs last month, the outlook continues to remain rather bleak for younger Americans still struggling to find employment.
A new report by the nonpartisan organization Generation Opportunity found that the unemployment rate among Millennials – Americans aged 11-29 years – has increased to 11.5 percent, up 0.6 percent from last month. Among African-American Millennials, the rate jumps to a staggering 22.1 percent.
For comparison purposes, the national unemployment rate released by the Department of Labor today is 7.8 percent. December 2012 also marked the 49th straight month that the national unemployment rate remained above seven percent.
According to Generation Opportunity, these numbers should be even worse – as high as 16.3 percent for Millennials. That is because the Department of Labor, in creating its monthly jobs report, does not include in its analysis the millions of Americans who are not currently in the workforce, essentially assuming that they have given up looking for employment as a result of the lack of jobs available to them. Generation Opportunity notes that as many as 1.7 million Americans aged 18-29 fall into this category. The U-6 rate for December 2012, which is the Department of Labor’s broadest measure of calculated unemployment, remained unchanged at 14.4 percent.
It is also important to note that all of these numbers are non-seasonally adjusted, especially with the holiday season just behind us.
“Expected seasonal hiring is likely keeping youth unemployment artificially low, and young people know all too well that a temporary job over the holidays is not a long-term solution,” stated Matthew Faraci, Senior Vice President for Communications at Generation Opportunity. “The fact is that 2012 marked yet another year in which Millennials were unable to find real opportunities in the vocations for which they trained and are qualified. This meant another year just scraping by, falling further behind on student loan payments, living at home with Mom and Dad, sending out hundreds of resumes, and filling out numerous job applications, all with little or no result. This was another year without hope for a generation eager to apply their skills and get in the game.”
Last July Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll of young Americans to determine how the currently weak economy is impacting their everyday lives. The poll found that virtually all Millennials – 89 percent – believe that the current economy has made a major impact on their day-to-day lives, with many resorting to reductions in food budgets or living situations to make ends meet. Nearly as many – 84 percent – have also scrapped or delayed major life changes they were considering as a result, including buying a house, starting a family, and repaying college loans.