With a recession, a crippling housing market, and a scarce availability of jobs, it seems the American dream is becoming more difficult to obtain. Millennials are called the “Lost Generation” because more individuals are now struggling to find work, get a college education, and create a life for themselves.
It's hard to ignore the reality of our situation. The financial crisis of 2008 slowed the growth of spending and income. The paucity of jobs leaves many middle class families sliding into poverty. However, I'm sick of hearing the “doomsday” scenarios for the millennial generation. It discourages our country from finding a solution.
I don't think that our future is as bleak as many predict. The advantage our generation has over previous generations is that we are the products of the Internet. It has expanded the free marketplace of ideas on a global level, making it easier for dreams to become reality. The capabilities and resources now have become limitless for us. Many problems lie ahead, but the economic and technological strides our country has made gives me the optimism to believe that we will rebuild a new and greater tomorrow.
A common apprehension of the millennial generation is the state of our economy. However, under the Obama administration, the private sector has added more than 2.3 million new jobs since March 2010. There are fewer net jobs now and a greater unemployment rate than in 2008, but the President has started a trend of consistent job gains. Through his initiatives, economic improvements are becoming more and more noticeable. This is a sign of promising change that our country is seeing. Because jobs are more prominent now, millennials may not be as out of luck as cynics predict.
There are analysts who argue that the Great Depression is repeating itself, but there are flaws in their theories. Unemployment is currently nowhere near as high as it was during the Great Depression and Western nations have acquired more wealth now than 80 years ago. We are in a financial slump, but the nation has overcome such droughts before.
It is true that our world faces the greatest economic crisis since the Depression, but there is hope in these statistics that we can overcome this threat.
I believe that the cure to our financial troubles lies in the advancements our country has made within the last few decades like the Internet, television, radio. The crisis we face will give birth to innovation. New entrepreneurial individuals and growing industries will take the opportunity to forge new business models and jump on technological platforms to revolutionize the economy. A whole digital industry has emerged from such innovation. The Internet has been an indispensable tool that has allowed such creative diffusion to exist.
Our country has already seen signs of this amongst start-up companies. Amidst the recession, 2009 was the year business startups reached their highest level in 14 years, even exceeding the number of startups during the peak 1999-2000 technology boom. According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, a leading indicator of new-business creation in the United States, the number of new businesses created during the 2007–2009 recession years increased steadily year to year. And according to recent Bloomberg.com business intelligence reports, the number has continue to increase in the last year.
There is reason to worry because there is potential for the nation's financial condition to gradually worsen. But this is not the first time that the United States has risen from the ashes of a recession. The Atlantic senior editor Richard Florida said it best when he suggests using the term "reset," arguing that the innovations spurred by hard times will fill the landscape of the post-recession economy. It is not just a period of economic decay; a reset is a chance to grow from the rubble.
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