The unemployment rate for 18- to 29-year-olds in April dropped slightly, from 11.7 percent in March to 11.1 percent in April, according to Generation Opportunity, a nonpartisan organization advocating for economic freedom for young people. National unemployment rates also dropped slightly, from 7.6 percent in March to 7.5 percent in April.
But the new numbers are no cause for celebration. About half of the 2 million college students graduating this month won’t find meaningful work in the coming weeks, according to Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg.
“These numbers are abysmal, and they mean that if you’re a graduating senior right now, coming out of college, your prospects are unfortunately bleak,” Feinberg told Red Alert Politics.
Polling from earlier this year shows that 41 percent of college graduates from 2011 and 2012 say they are underemployed or working in jobs that don’t require or utilize their degrees. Only 16 percent of students graduating this year said they had already secured a job.
But as the Obama administration continues to point fingers at the sequester, Feinberg said the automatic cuts probably helped the jobs numbers — though there’s still a long way to go.
“The economy did add jobs this past month overall, so it’s hard to blame the sequester for having any impact of jobs,” he told Red Alert. “In fact, it probably suggests that as politicians start to be more fiscally responsible, that it’s a slight help to the economy. But look, young people are paying the tab for years and years and years of irresponsible and reckless spending and government policy. So these numbers have nothing to do with the sequester and everything to do with irresponsible behavior among politicians in Washington, D.C.”
Feinberg said Congress can turn around the youth unemployment numbers if it stops spending and borrowing money it doesn’t have. He said only a real commitment to the next generation and fundamental change in Washington can put young people back to work. But as things stand right now, there’s no silver lining.
“For young Americans, there’s little to no recovery whatsoever, and we continue to be on the verge of being an entirely lost generation, economically,” he said. “And that’s all coming at a time when we’re one of the most highly-educated, highly-skilled and most innovative generations in American history, but government policy is holding us back from creating and innovating.”
Happy graduation, seniors.