The June 2015 jobs report was according to some analysts, “Not too hot, not too cold. But not, alas, just right.” While overall unemployment fell, the picture was more complex as levels of long-term and partially employed remained persistent, wages remained static and many individuals gave up looking for work. In fact, the labor participation rate among adults is now the lowest since 1977.
Younger adults are particularly affected by this downturn. If those between the ages of 25 and 34 feel they are not sharing in the economic recovery at all that’s probably because they aren’t.
“Despite improvements in the overall economy, these older millennials have become more likely to bunk with Mom and Dad each year over the past three years [as a result of decreased earning power],” explains Catherine Rampell in the Washington Post. “In 2014, 14.7 percent were living with their parents, the highest share since the government began keeping track in 1960.”
The unfortunate problem for many within the older half of Gen Y is that they entered the job market when employment opportunities were at their worst in a generation. With prospects so dim, many of these workers were happy to take pretty much any job he or she could land. That, in turn, had a negative Domino effect, charting a long-term course of underemployment in low wage positions that offered little opportunity for advancement. This is where many people in that demographic find themselves today.
Long-term unemployment is not just a problem for millennials; it impacts everyone looking for work. The duration of unemployment has lasted much longer during The Great Recession than during any other job downturn since the late 1940s, according to findings published by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Of the 8.7 million Americans looking for jobs in May 2015, 2.5 million had been out of work for 27 weeks or more.
Nancy Cook, a reporter from the National Journal, recently spoke with C-SPAN about the deleterious impacts of long term unemployment, defined as 27 weeks or more, where even college graduates find themselves these days.
Roughly 30% of all unemployed people are long-term.