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Millennials Face Uphill Climb
Caroline Porter / September 30, 2013
More Demanding Jobs, Coupled With Recession, Have Postponed Young Americans’ Entry Into Workforce, According to New Report
The on-ramp to adulthood is delayed and harder to reach for young people today, a reality that is changing the country’s society and economy, according to a new report.
More demanding job requirements, coupled with the pressures of the recession, have delayed the transition to adulthood for young people in the past decade and earned them the title of “the new lost generation,” according to the report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, published Monday.
James Roy, 26, has spent the past six years paying off $14,000 in student loans for two years of college by skating from job to job. Now working as a supervisor for a coffee shop in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles, Ill., Mr. Roy describes his outlook as “kind of grim.”
“It seems to me that if you went to college and took on student debt, there used to be greater assurance that you could pay it off with a good job,” said the Colorado native, who majored in English before dropping out. “But now, for people living in this economy and in our age group, it’s a rough deal.”
Most economists agree that in general, more education is a positive factor for job seekers, though rising college costs are prompting young people to take a hard look at where to go and what to study.
Through analyzing about three decades of census data—from 1980 to 2012—the study found that on average, young workers are now 30 years old when they first earn a median-wage income of about $42,000, a marker of financial independence, up from 26 years old in 1980.