Tags: Young | Adults | Jobs

Pew Research: Fewer Young Adults Hold Jobs Than Ever Before

By    |   Friday, 10 February 2012 08:51 AM

Fewer young adults have jobs than since the government started keeping records just after World War II.

The unemployment rate for those age 18 to 24 was 16.3 percent last year, compared to 7 percent for those age 35 to 64, and 8.8 percent for all adults 64 and under, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Plus, more unemployed young adults have stopped looking for work — so are not counted as unemployed — than other age groups. Just 54.3 percent of all young adults were employed in 2011, down from 62.4 percent in 2007 and the lowest rate since 1948.

An increase in college attendance doesn't completely explain the low employment rate. The Great Recession caused an across-the-board increase in unemployment for both young people in school and not in school, the research concludes.

Young adults who are working are earning less, according to the Pew Research report. Median full-time weekly pay for young adults fell from $477 in 2007 to $448 in 2011, a 6.1 percent drop.

Their financial difficulties are causing them to delay major life decisions, the report concludes. Young adults say the poor economy has impacted many coming-of-age decisions about their careers, marriage, parenthood and schooling.

About half of the young adults surveyed said they have taken a job they don' want just to pay their bills, a quarter said they have accepted unpaid work to gain experience, about a quarter said they had to live with their parents after living on their own.

A survey commissioned by Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit group founded to represent younger voters, found that 77 percent of those 18 to 29 have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to economic factors.

Young people, says Generation Opportunity President Paul T. Conway, "are deeply concerned with the overall lack of jobs and limited economic opportunity. They're tired of having their lives put on hold and are eager for solutions that can positively change the quality of their daily lives."

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