January 2017 Monthly Jobs Analysis

JanJobsGraph

The young adult unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.5 percent, in January (seasonally adjusted), up from 6.3 percent in December. About 51,000 new young adults entered the workforce, which can cause the unemployment rate to increase. The number of unemployed also increased and by a larger margin than new young adults in the workforce. The young adult unemployment rate continues to persist at higher rates that the national unemployment rate, which also increased slightly  from 4.7 percent up to 4.8 percent.

The unemployment rate grew for young Latinos, African Americans, and Asian or Pacific Islanders over the month (though these are not seasonally adjusted). Notably, the rate for Asian or Pacific Islander young adults doubled, from 2.7 percent to 5.5 percent.

The workforce has largely recovered  since the Great Recession, as reflected by stronger employment rates, but new research published by Young Invincibles last month demonstrated longer-term structural problems for today’s young adults. Millennials today earn lower incomes, own houses at lower rates, and have amassed fewer assets and wealth than Boomers had when they were the same age in 1989.,This highlights that increased employment is just one piece of the puzzle needed to get this generation of young people back on track.

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5 Reasons #PriceIsWrong for Millennials’ Health

By Colin Seeberger

Price

Rep. Tom Price’s history as a member of Congress raises alarming flags about the policies he might champion as Secretary of Health & Human Services. He needs to answer for this record. Here’s a quick rundown of how a Secretary Price could significantly undermine Millennials’ health.

1. Price would significantly cut young people’s access to coverage.

In the last Congress, Rep. Price authored a bill called Empowering Patients, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act, or the essential means by which 8 million young adults have gained health care coverage, including 2.3 million young people who have been able to stay on a parent’s plan until they turn 26 (dependent coverage provision); 3.8 million through Medicaid expansion; and millions more through federal and state health insurance marketplaces. A new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds that repealing the Affordable Care Act would cause 18 million to lose their insurance and premiums to increase up to 25 percent next year. A Kaiser analysis of Rep. Price’s Empowering Patients legislation, his bill would would repeal the ACA’s dependent coverage provision and eliminate the ACA’s Medicaid expansion without a replacement to provide low-income enrollees coverage, much less coverage with comparable benefits.

2. Price doesn’t understand young women’s health needs.

Speaking at 2012 CPAC conference, when asked by a reporter about what women who have struggled to afford birth control should do if the ACA’s birth control mandate was undone, Rep. Price said: “Bring me one woman who’s [been unable to afford birth control]… There’s not one.” According to a 2010 Planned Parenthood Action Fund survey, 55 percent of women ages 18 to 34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control. It’s worth noting, Rep. Price has consistently voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

3. Price would give huge tax cuts to billionaires and cut financial help for low- and middle-income young adults.

Rep. Price’s health care bill would cut premium tax credits to low- and middle-income people and redirect that support, and in smaller levels, to individuals based on age. That means that young people, who have less work experience and thus typically lower wages, would see their access to financial assistance that helps them afford coverage slashed. Young adults are already earning $10,000 less than young adults a generation ago, so restructuring the financial help how Rep. Price suggests would only further stunt Millennial’s economic vitality. Furthermore, Rep. Price’s bill would provide 2.5 times more financial assistance to purchase coverage for middle-aged people, regardless of their wealth or health status, as it would to young workers making the minimum wage. In other words, Price would give a tax credit that is 2.5 times larger to the CEO of Goldman Sachs than he would to a recent college graduate working full-time at the GAP.

4. Price would push young people into policies that don’t meet their needs.

Price’s bill would eliminate the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits that currently ensure all Qualified Health Plans include maternity and mental health coverage. Prior to the ACA, just 12 percent of policies sold on the individual insurance market included maternity coverage as a benefit, despite the fact that the average, uncomplicated pregnancy could, on average, set a consumer paying out of pocket back $18,000. Additionally, mental health and trauma-related disorders are the top two conditions for which young adults receive health care, and 7.6 million young adults receive care for mental health conditions annually.

5. Price would expose 30 million young adults with pre-existing conditions to being denied or charged more for coverage.

Kaiser’s analysis also notes that Price’s bill would repeal the ACA’s prohibition on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Instead, people with pre-existing conditions could be guaranteed coverage only if they are already insured or if they withstand an 18 month waiting period. In other words, say that you are working at a job and have a one week lapse in employment and health coverage, under Rep. Price’s bill, insurance companies would be allowed to deny you coverage for up to 18 months due to the one week lapse in coverage.

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December Jobs Report: Young Adult Unemployment Lowest Since May 2007

The unemployment rate for young adults fell to 6.3 percent in December 2016,  its lowest point in nearly a decade. Last week’s report is the final jobs report of the Obama administration, which oversaw a volatile workforce that significantly impacted young adults. A few notable points:

  • Young adults suffered from 54 straight months of double-digit unemployment rates between January 2009, when President Obama first took office, to June 2013.
  • Young adult unemployment reached its height at 13.3 percent in April 2010.
  • Last month’s rate of 6.3 percent is the lowest the rate has been since May 2007.

This graph below tracks the unemployment rate among young adults and the workforce generally over the last decade. It also highlights the weak jobs market President Obama inherited from the Great Recession and the slow recovery through his administration. the Recession (yellow area) officially began in December 2007, over a year before Obama took office and continued for at least six months into his presidency. The green indicates an overlap of both the recession and the Obama administration (remember how yellow and blue make green?). Starting with the recovery in June 2009, the unemployment rate for young adults steadily declined to last month’s historic low.

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Taking a closer look at the most recent unemployment rates for December of last year, we see that despite overall gains, that young African Americans still suffer from the highest unemployment rates, double the rate overall, at ten percent. Young Latino adults also have higher rates at 7.3 percent. Young Asian or Pacific Islander adults had the lowest unemployment rates at 2.7 percent.

image01While the jobs market has generally recovered from the Great Recession in the short-term, last week Young Invincibles released new research analyzing long-term declines in financial security, which show that  today’s Millennials earn lower incomes, own homes at lower rates, and have amassed fewer assets and wealth than Baby Boomers when they were the same age.

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New Report from Young Invincibles: Millennials are Significantly Less Financially Secure Than Baby Boomer Parents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 13, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

New Report from Young Invincibles: Millennials are Significantly Less Financially Secure Than Baby Boomer Parents

 Millennials have half the net wealth Boomers did when they were young adults

[Washington, D.C.] — Today, Young Invincibles released its latest report, The Financial Health of Young America: Measuring Generational Declines Between Baby Boomers & Millennials. The report analyzes the economic challenges facing today’s young people and represents the most comprehensive look to date at the financial security of Millennials compared to their parents. The findings are based on a cross-generational analysis of Millennials today compared to Boomers when they were young adults.  In summary, this generation of young people earns lower incomes, is less likely to own a home, and has lower net wealth than their parents’ generation at the same stage in life. Some of the key findings include:

  • Millennials have amassed a net wealth half that of Boomers at the same age.
  • Young adult workers today earn $10,000 less than young adults in 1989, a decline of 20 percent.
  • When baby boomers were young adults, they owned twice the amount of assets as young adults.

“These findings uncover that Millennials have been set back significantly, by not just the Great Recession but by decades-long financial trends, resulting in major generational declines in financial security between Millennials and Baby Boomers when they were the same age,” said Tom Allison, Deputy Director of Policy and Research for Young Invincibles. “Millennials make up the greatest share of the workforce and the largest generation in history, so in many ways the situation facing young adults today forecasts the financial challenges ahead for the nation.”

This report also distinguishes financial security by the characteristics that make this generation unique in the first place: cultural and racial diversity, the increased need for skills to compete in the workforce, and a growing reliance on student debt to finance postsecondary education.

While we’ve seen some progress in closing wealth gaps since the 80s, there are still stark and disturbing disparities in wealth across racial groups. The report shows that young African Americans’ median wealth has declined by a third since 1989. Low wages continue to exacerbate racial disparities, as young African Americans and Latinos earn 57 cents and 64 cents respectively for every dollar earned by young whites.

Regarding student debt, the report underscores that higher education is still on the whole a person’s best pathway to financial security. It is also increasingly necessary in today’s workforce which requires higher levels of education. A college graduate in 2013 earned roughly the same income as a high school graduate did in 1989. Yet student debt is blunting some of the premium a degree provides. Median assets declined faster for student borrowers with a degree (-71 percent), than those with only a high school diploma or less (-54 percent).

The report outlines a bipartisan policy plan to help Millennials start building wealth, which includes the Earned Income Tax Credit, increasing the minimum wage, portable retirement plans, incentivizing ways to save tax refunds, and more. “As the new administration and Congress take office this month, we urge them to consider these findings. We need policies that will help Millennials build wealth and make sure our generation doesn’t fall further behind,” said Allison.

 

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October Jobs: Numbers Moving in the Right Direction

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Excerpt from Barron’s Next: Looking for a Job? Here’s Where to Find One (11/4/2016)

Overall, unemployment for millennial-age workers is 35% higher than for the population at large, and pay, while finally beginning to rise, is still lower than it was before the recession, Young Invincibles data show. But the numbers are at least moving in the right direction: The unemployment rate ticked down to 6.6% for workers age 18-34 in October from 6.7% in September, and 55,000 jobs (outside of agriculture) were added. Even better, the reason the unemployment rate fell is because more young workers found jobs rather than giving up and leaving the labor force, Allison says. “The big picture is pretty encouraging,” he says.

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Your Health Care Navigation Stories, in 1Graf

When Open Enrollment approaches, so can a lot of fears connected to navigating coverage. A number of obstacles can impact the likelihood a young person will sign up for health care, one of them being sheer discomfort and lack of navigation. We asked young people about their level of comfort and knowledge on their health care packages, and what they’d like to learn.

Miles Le, 23

Navigating health is still difficult. Reading through the clauses of the plans, making sure to pick something that would cover what I need and still be affordable isn’t exactly what I want to be worrying about when there’s a million other things to worry about as well. I just want to know why medical care has to be purchased instead of being something that’s inherent to being alive. That and how to best use my healthcare plan without bankrupting myself at the same time.

Kreig Rajaram, 26

I visited the doctor for the first time in years this April. I was excited and nervous because it would be my first time going to the doctor as an “adult”. I have been to the doctor as a person in my 20s before but never under my own health insurance. This time it was all on me. I was the primary care holder and I was in charge because I had pretty good knowledge of my plan. I knew what my visit would cost going in and how I would be billed. I knew that since this visit was an annual checkup it was going to be free as preventative care and I took full advantage of it by asking every question under the sun. Now I want to learn more about all the other benefits that my health insurances offers like discounts on gym memberships and nutrition planning help, both of which will help me stay on top of my health.

Want to read more Millennial stories? Check out our 1Graf Friday homepage.

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Young Invincibles and Dozens of Groups Oppose Raiding Pell

Young Invincibles and a coalition of 33 higher education stakeholders recently sent a letter to Congressional appropriators asking for Pell funds to remain within the Pell program. The funds are essential to maintaining the financial integrity of the program for years to come, and vital to improving and expanding Pell’s capacity to help the millions who depend on it to attend college. We look forward to continuing our efforts on this issue in the weeks and months ahead.

Download full letter here.

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September Jobs: Millennials Got a Raise Last Year (but still make less than they did before the recession)

By Tom Allison

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly jobs report for September. The unemployment rate for young adults aged 18-to-34 stayed flat at 6.7 percent (seasonably adjusted).  The rate remains above the national average of 5.0 percent.

Below are the race and ethnicity breakouts for young adults (not seasonably adjusted):

  • African American: 11.1 percent
  • Latino: 7.4 percent
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 5.0 percent

We’ve covered the slow but steady recovery for young adults in the job market in previous posts. Don’t forget that in June 2013, young adult unemployment was at 10.4 percent, with 2.9 million fewer young adults working today. Looking even further back to the depths of the recession in September 2009, young adult unemployment was at 13.0 percent. 

But for these young adults who are working now, how much are they earning from those new jobs? New Census data released last month showed real (adjusted for inflation)  median income rising for the first time since 2007. We crunched the numbers for young adults and saw similar trends. Real median earnings for workers aged 18-to-24 rose $1,000 to $14,000, while 25-to-34 year-olds’ earnings rose $2,000 to $35,000.

So young adults got a raise last year. That’s good. Only problem is, after adjusting for inflation, young adults are still earning less than they did before the recession in 2007. And these declines are steeper for them than for older workers. As the table shows below, our youngest workers make 6 percent less than they did in 2007. This compares to only a 1 percent decline for workers 35 and older. Fortunately 25-to-34 year olds median income rose 2 percent during this time.

Median Earnings Since Recession (2007 to 2015)
Age 2007 2015 % Change
18-24 $ 14,820 $ 14,000 -6%
25-34 $ 34,200 $ 35,000 2%
35+ $ 43,320 $ 43,000 -1%
Young Invincibles Current Population Survey, adjusted to 2015 dollars

Young Invincibles will release new research exploring the implications of these income declines, with a close look at education attainment, student debt, and demographic equity. Beyond income, we’ll also look at wider indicators of financial security, like home ownership, saving for retirement, and asset accumulation. Stay tuned.

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Your Presidential Hopes, in 1Graf

This year’s presidential candidates have stirred up a lot of strong opinions in the U.S., and Millennial sentiment isn’t any different. Many are passionate about the policies our next president should pass, and how that would affect the next generation of workers and students. Young Invincibles asked Millennials what they want to see prioritized in the next four years regarding health care, higher education, and job opportunities.

Maaja Ashemu, 19

I would like to see our next president really hone in and conquer the reality of our country’s  serious issues surrounding sexual health and sexual assault. This affects our entire generation whether they realize it or not. In my own community, I’ve seen men my own age with very poor sexual education experience, and therefore pursue personal relationships with all the wrong information. Likewise, our girls and women are stigmatized for sexual activity which deters them from  awareness and acceptance of their sexuality. Because of the “hush hush” culture around sex in my community, many are left to use media and peers as the only sources for information, which rarely reflects accurate, safe, and consensual approaches to intimacy. The next president should make it a focus to truly push for a greater and wider range in sexual education for Millennials and what that means for each individual. With the right leadership that prioritizes youth health and safety, I want to see numbers of assault decrease.

Miles Le, 23

It’s difficult to even begin to pin our hopes onto a single president. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t begin to enact changes in policy with lasting effects. As we continue to see wealth inequality grow and systems of labor becoming more exploitive, it would be nice to have some amount of alleviation, whether through paid sick leave, or health care programs that provide for the health of the laborer without barriers to access. Labor permeates our social fabric and by focusing solely on the “Pathway to Middle Class” our next president runs the risk of ignoring the systems that establish hierarchal caste systems in the first place.

Kameron Haake, 19

I would like to see our next president address quite a few things. Specifically, I would like to see a candidate who supports the idea that a student can work throughout the summer and be able to afford college tuition. This is a very real need for my generation. Right now, education is simply unaffordable for too many Americans, and most graduate with massive amounts of debt. Millennials should feel that they have a right to pursue an education if they want to, not intimidated by the expensive cost. I would also like to see a candidate who supports de-stigmatizing mental health, a significant part of many people’s college experience. Additionally, I want my next president to address sexual assault on college campuses; one who sees how prevalent of a problem it is for Millennials who want to receive an education in a safe environment. In the end, I want a president who is empathetic and understanding of the unique challenges this diverse generation faces.

Maria Gonzalez, 20

What I want from our next president to address is college affordability. I am going to be a first generation college student, and I am facing issues that no one else in my family has experienced yet. It worries me deeply that I am going to have to go into such great debt just to get a good education. Plus my family lives just above the poverty line, and I am not an only child. I fear that the cost of college won’t just affect me, but that my parents are also going to go into huge debt. I would like to see how we could make college degrees affordable for all students in this country, especially first generation students like me or who are lower class. What kind of help would we be able to get from the government besides FAFSA? What kind of help can they offer to Deferred Action for Child Arrival eligible students? Students need better options to afford school, and our president needs to promote debt-free college.

Ready to share your story? Check out our next question at our 1Graf Friday homepage.

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Don’t Sit This Election Out

voterregdeadlineflag2Many of us tuned in to Sunday night’s debate to hear the candidates’ plans for the country’s future, which inevitably affects our futures and economic potential. Millennials have played a critical role in shaping the 2016 political landscape. I’m proud that my generation refuses to be silent about their priorities; we’ve seen young people voice their views on social media, and in political rallies, forums and town halls. However, drumming up strong feelings isn’t enough. We need to also exercise our right to play a real role in this election. After all, Millennials have just as much voting power as Baby Boomers. But before we run to the voting booths in November, we need to register first.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been on college campuses asking students if they are registered. I’ve been pleased to learn that many are registered, but the few that aren’t usually  follow up with a statement like “my vote doesn’t count.” This is understandable. Many Millennials are disgruntled by this current election period, and want to see their priorities  reflected more in the candidates’ policies. But not liking a candidate or being apathetic cannot deter young people from participating in our country’s political process.

When you forfeit your right to make decisions about your life, you are inadvertently let others make choices for you. If you aren’t satisfied with the actions of politicians, that’s even more reason to get involved. Registering to vote doesn’t have to end with national elections. Get involved with local politics, where change directly impacts communities.. It’s  a great personal disservice if you put your health care, education, the future of your financial security in another’s hand without making your voice heard.

Our generation  cannot afford to distance ourselves from it all. If you sat out on National Registration Day, get out of your seat and register today. It’s simple, and only takes a few minutes. I challenge young people across the nation to register before the third debate between our candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Don’t just watch the debates and elections. Be a part of the process.

Jemima Osei-Hwedie is a campus fellow with New Virginia Majority, and double-majors in Economics and Geography at James Mason University.

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