Youth Unemployment: 1 in 6 Young People Are Jobless


Last week’s job numbers were again abysmal. And yet again, young people are getting hurt the most. Simply put, it’s “Millennial Madness.”

Unemployment among 18-29 year olds is now 12.5%, but that’s not even counting the 1.7 million young people who have just given up looking for work entirely. Apparently, when you’re unemployed, frustrated, and have lost all hope, the government stops counting you. But if they did, they’d report that the effective unemployment rate for 18 to 29-year-olds is 16.2%.

Put another way, one in six young people did not get up and go to work today. One out of every six!

Young people should be outraged. Roughly half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, meaning they are taking jobs below their skill and education levels just to get by. Nearly half of young people have taken a job they didn’t want just to pay the bills. Close to a quarter of young people have moved back in with their parents because they couldn't afford more bills.

At Generation Opportunity, we’re rallying young people to fight back. This month, we launched our March Madness-themed campaign, Millennial Madness, to let young people know that the status quo is unacceptable – it’s insane! To kick off this effort, we have a booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where we are engaging thousands of young adults and providing free resume consultations to those looking for jobs.

The more we talk with young people and help with their resumes, the more we see highly-qualified, well-educated Millennials who are finding little opportunity to get off of their feet and live the American Dream. No longer can college graduates expect jobs in the fields of their choice. Instead, they have to take full advantage of extracurricular activities, internships, and volunteer work that will make them more attractive to prospective employers.

Even with these tips to help young people find work, we must still fundamentally change course if we’re going to provide real hope to my generation.

When you ask young people their thoughts, you find that millennials are interested in the issues impacting them, issues like youth unemployment, national debt, and government spending. We are not so much a generation concerned with party labels. We want real solutions so we can begin our careers, start families, and buy a home.

Unfortunately, over the last several years, Washington’s government-driven approach to job creation has prolonged the crisis and made things worse for young people. And young people realize this, they recognize the need to free up job creators so they can hire young workers.

69% of young people agree with this statement: “if taxes on business profits were reduced, companies would be more likely to hire.” Additionally, 65% of young people side with this belief: “the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.”

But perhaps an even bigger issue for my generation is the level of government spending and debt. With the national debt now $16.5 trillion, 72% of young people agree that we should cut government spending. My generation is tired of our leaders in Washington spending money we don’t have. Eventually, someone is going to have to pay for it, and guess what? That is us. Is it any shock that only 38% of young people think today’s political leaders reflect their interests?

So here’s a word of advice to our elected officials, candidates, and community leaders: Really listen to what young people think and want. It just might save America. Not just for young Americans, but all Americans.