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Hullabaloo


Sunday, June 08, 2014

 
QOTD: Paul Gigot

by digby

Via C&L
Look, I worked for the minimum wage. Two bucks an hour back in the 1970s. I had jobs that -- what did I learn? I learned to show up on time, I learned certain skills, and I learned I didn't want to make the rest of my life so I better get an education.
And then he went to Dartmouth. Which I'm sure is the trajectory of the 9 out of 10 minimum wage workers who are adults will also have. Once they learn what work is. It might take a while. Like a lifetime.

Meanwhile, all those kids who will go to that school of hard knocks and come out the other side as good workers? Guess what?
Today’s young people, ages 18 to 24, should have been the lucky ones. They were preteens or teenagers when the recession hit in late 2007, with high school and college still ahead. Unlike those who had to enter the work force in the depths of the downturn, they had time, or so it seemed, to wait out the weak economy.

But that’s not how things have worked out. While the worst is over, economic conditions are still subpar, damaging the immediate job prospects and long-term living standards of young adults starting out now.

In recent years, the economy has grown annually at 2 percent or so. That’s too slow to make up the current shortfall of nearly seven million jobs, let alone to absorb new graduates or push up wages in jobs that do exist.

To make matters worse, the economy contracted at an annual rate of 1 percent in the first quarter of 2014. A rebound is expected, but there is little in the economic data or current policy to suggest that an upsurge will be sustained; over all, economic growth is likely to settle at 2 percent to 2.5 percent.

For young people, these conditions will only deepen a long trend of increasing economic hardship. Census data that compares today’s 18-to-24-year-olds with the same age group in 1970 and in 1990 show more poverty among young adults over time, as well as lower income and less independence. But young people today are appreciably worse off than those in previous generations.

In 1970, for example, 13.9 percent of people ages 18 to 24 were in poverty. In 1990, 15.9 percent were poor; in 2012, the last year of available data, 20.4 percent were poor, or 6.1 million people. That data excludes students living in dorms, as well as most students who live with their parents or receive cash support from them. For young people who are on their own, either living alone or with housemates or spouses, median household income, recently $30,604, is nearly $4,600 less than in 1970 and virtually unchanged since 1990, adjusted for inflation.

Lack of opportunity and lack of resources mean a smaller share of young high school and college graduates are relocating, traditionally a way up a career ladder. In 1970, nearly 40 percent of young people had moved in the prior year; in 1990, it was nearly 32 percent; in 2013, it was only 21.6 percent. Not surprisingly, the share of young adults living with their parents is 55.3 percent, compared with 47.3 percent in 1970 and 52.8 percent in 1990.

Young people are clearly banking on a college education to improve their prospects — 41 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds were recently enrolled in college, a higher share than in previous generations. But the unemployment rate of college graduates ages 21 to 24 remains high at an average of 8.5 percent over the past year. Underemployment — which includes those who are officially unemployed, those who want to work but haven’t looked recently for a job and those stuck in part-time jobs — is 16.8 percent.
But gosh darn it, they'll really know how to get to work on time.


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