July Jobs Numbers Make Case for Improving Apprenticeship Programs

By Tom Allison

While the national unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in July, the rate for young adults ages 18-to-34 rose slightly to 6.9 percent (seasonably adjusted) from 6.8 percent in June. Notably, sectors with high prevalence of apprenticeships saw significant job growth. Those sectors include:

  • The construction industry added 14,000 new jobs in July, including 9,400 specialty trade contracting jobs.
  • Nearly 50,000 new jobs were created in health care and social assistance, including 17,000 new hospital jobs and over 5,000 in social assistance.
  • There were also 11,000 new jobs in durable good manufacturing (all estimates seasonably adjusted).

Among the other unadjusted unemployment estimates, we see that young people of color continue to struggle to find a job despite the fact that our national unemployment rate has fallen by more than half since the depths of the recession:

  • Young Latinos: 7.5 percent
  • Young Asian or Pacific Islanders: 6.0 percent
  • Young African Americans 12.2 percent

jobs july

 

Last week’s jobs report coincides with Young Invincibles’ release of a new report on apprenticeships, debunking myths about the program and making suggestions for improving the system. The job growth in sectors key for apprenticeships reinforces our recommendations to improve our apprenticeship system. Conducted in the Chicagoland area where young people face some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, the study highlights three key misconceptions that Millennials hold about apprenticeships: that apprenticeship programs don’t currently exist in their communities, that apprenticeships don’t pay, and that participating in an apprenticeship means never receiving a college degree.

Based on these misconceptions about apprenticeships, as well as stated job preferences among Millennials, we advance six recommendations for building and branding youth-friendly apprenticeship programs.

When it comes to program structure, we recommend expanding pre-apprenticeship and job shadowing opportunities, creating more apprenticeships that provide the option to receive college credentials, and starting apprentices in cohorts. On the marketing side, we suggest being more explicit about wages, building innovative social media marketing strategies, and using near-peers as ambassadors.  Doing so will both build a broader base of Millennial support for these programs and ensure that those opportunities fit the needs of today’s young people.

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Young Invincibles Hails Unanimous Passage of Perkins CTE Bill out of House Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

CONTACT: Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org, 301-717-9006

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed out of committee HR 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, a bill designed to reauthorize the Perkins CTE program. The 37-0 vote advances the bill to the House floor. Perkins CTE allows states to fund robust career and technical education programs in high schools and community colleges, and enables students to get the training they need to prepare for future careers. Reauthorization of the program is an opportunity to advance reforms to help young Americans find work, as detailed in Young Invincibles’ Millennial Workforce Development Priorities Report.

“We celebrate bipartisan committee passage of a modern Perkins program that works better for young people. This bill is an important step toward creating a program that is responsive to the needs of employers and young workers alike,” said Reid Setzer, Young Invincibles’ Policy and Legislative Affairs Analyst. “Aligning Perkins with other federal workforce programs and improving the metrics used to evaluate success will strengthen the program long-term and help relieve high youth unemployment. We look forward to Congress continuing their work on improving aspects of Perkins on the path to reauthorization in the coming months.”

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Tepid May jobs report underscores need for innovation and reform

 

MayJobs 2016

Looking at some of the headlines for the May jobs report, you’d think America’s employment situation is in rough shape. After all, the economy added only 38,000 jobs, the slowest growth since 2010. Some speculated that Fed Chair Janet Yellen might delay interest rate hikes due to the sluggish job growth.

The monthly jobs report can be sliced and diced different ways though, and May’s report shows some interesting trends for young adults. But further analysis points to persistent inequities for marginalized communities and it underscore a need for innovation and targeted reform in our employment system. With that in mind, it’s worth it to take a step back, and look at these  trends. This month, we compare the unemployment rates for young adults, broken out by demographic between May 2015 and May 2016.

By this comparison, the employment picture for young adults improved overall since last year. The unemployment rate facing young African Americans declined 2.6 points, and young Latinos’ rate declined 1.9 points. However, rates of unemployment for young people of color are almost double their white counterparts. This is clear evidence that structural disparities remain and more work needs to be done on workforce policy and college affordability to improve our economy overall.

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Are Job-Hopping Millennials Getting Ahead in the Career Game?

By Eric VanDreason

This time of year in Washington is known as “merry-go-round” season. With a new Congress and unofficial presidential campaigns shaping up, many Millennials in government or politics are likely to switch jobs.

Pundits have been quick to peg our generation as one of job-hoppers. But research shows that our peers don’t suffer from commitment-phobia. It’s recently been suggested that the separation rate (the rate at which employees leave their employers) for young people is hardly different today than it was in the 1970s or 1980s. Rather, the likelihood is higher for today’s younger generation to make a career change — a subtle, but important, distinction.

This phenomenon has to do with the significance of what has been called the “dream­ job premium.” As Derek Thompson recently wrote, “Jumping between jobs in your 20s, which strikes many people as wayward and noncommittal, improves the chance that you’ll find more satisfying—and higher paying—work in your 30s and 40s” because it’s a method young people have used to find their “true calling,” or work that better suits their personal interests. It’s also been shown to improve raises, as those staying employed at the same company for over two years on average will earn half as much over their lifetime.

Even as job-hopping makes financial sense for Millennials, the Great Recession has actually caused many to stick with their jobs longer than their counterparts a decade ago. The median length of job tenure for 25-34 year olds was 3.2 years in 2012, up from 2.7 years in 2002. Despite being more educated than previous generations, the decline and/or stagnation of median wages in the industries most likely to be hire Millennials means they run the risk of being worse off financially than their parents were.

When employers cite this pattern as a reason to hold back investing in young workers, it perpetuates a vicious cycle: Employers hesitate to train young workers because they might leave, giving those workers the impetus to leave and gain the skills that will allow them to advance in their careers elsewhere.

Young workers desire to have opportunities for growth within one workplace, but staying put necessitates flexibility and a commitment of time on the part of the employer. That may mean a leadership development program for recent graduates, or something akin to what LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman and Do Something CEO Nancy Lublin described as “tours of duty,” a flexible, transparent, highly personalized mutual commitment by both employer and employee to complete a significant but clearly defined set of goals over a finite amount of time.

Yet these scenarios present an ideal that isn’t common across the current landscape of work available to young people. Instead, Millennial workers are forced to create their own leadership development on-ramp to broader opportunities, and job-hopping is often pointed to as a means to do so.

We’ve seen the devastating impact the Great Recession has had on young adults, from declining wages to higher rates of unemployment. Many college graduates preparing to enter the workforce say they are willing to take a pay cut to obtain a job where they can make an impact. If employers show a commitment to their Millennial employees through long-term investment and give them opportunities for growth and meaningful contribution, their desire to acquire and retain young talent may not be so far out of reach.

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Overall Unemployment Rate Drops For Millennials, But Rises For African Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 9, 2014
Contact: Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org585.746.8281

[WASHINGTON]— As the national unemployment rate fell slightly from 5.8 percent in November to 5.6 percent in December and the economy added 252,000 jobs in December, the unemployment rate for 18 to 34 year-olds dipped slightly to 7.9 percent in December from 8.3 percent in November (seasonably adjusted). However, the gap between the unemployment rate for white young adults and black young adults widened.

Black young adults face an unemployment rate that’s more than two and a half times higher than their white peers, 14.8 percent compared to 5.6 percent, respectively. We’d like to see the next Congress pass policies to change this. As our recent report – The Future of Millennial Jobs – showed, job training and higher education will be even more essential in the years ahead to better prepare all Millennials for the job market.

Here is more information on how different populations of young adults fared relative to the overall workforce in December 2014.

• The unemployment rate for Black/African American young adults ages 18 to 34 in December is 14.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), up from 14.6 percent in November.

• The unemployment rate for Hispanic/Latino young adults ages 18 to 34 in December is 7.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down from 8.0 percent in November.

• The unemployment rate for white young adults ages 18 to 34 in December is 5.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down from 6.3 percent in November.

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Jobs Report Shows College Affordability Key to Fighting Unemployment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2014

Contacts:
Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org202-734-6529;
Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org214.223.2913

Jobs Report Shows College Affordability Key to Fighting Unemployment
Unemployment Rate Among College Graduates is Lower  than those Lacking Higher Education Degree

[WASHINGTON]— As the national unemployment rate stayed stagnant, the unemployment rate for 18-to 29-year-olds rose from 9.1 percent to 10.1 percent in May (not seasonably adjusted).

Over the past five years, the unemployment rate among college graduates age 25 and older has stayed significantly lower than the unemployment rate among high school graduates. In May, the unemployment rate among college graduates in this category was 3.2 percent, for example, while the unemployment rate among high school graduates was 6.5 percent.

“Fewer young adults are jobless today than during the Great Recession, but we still have a ways to go to get our generation back on their feet,” said Rory O’Sullivan, Deputy Director at Young Invincibles. “There are two key ways to increase our long term job prospects: keep college affordable, and expand job-training programs. Fortunately, there are three bills in Congress that could achieve just that; the time for Congress to pass them is now.”

The three bills that could help reverse trends:

  • Senator Mary Landrieu’s CHANCE Act that boosts funding for the Pell Grant – financial aid that’s key to helping low-income young adults afford college.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act that provides immediate relief to struggling borrowers by allowing them to refinance their loans.
  • A bipartisan measure by Senators Cory Booker and Tim Scott that would incentivize employers to create apprenticeship programs — a reliable way to give young adults the job-training they need in today’s tough economy.

Here’s more information on how different populations of young people fared in May 2014:

• The unemployment rate for black young adults ages 16 to 24 in May is 23.8 percent compared to 21.4 percent last month (not seasonally adjusted).

• The unemployment rate for young Latinos ages 16 to 24 in May is 12.3 percent – it was 11.6 percent last month (not seasonally adjusted).

• The unemployment rate for young men ages 16 to 24 in May is 14.2 percent compared to 14.3 percent last month (seasonally adjusted).

• The unemployment rate for young women ages 16 to 24 in May is 12.2 percent compared to 11.2 percent last month (seasonally adjusted).

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Employment Gains Continue to Bypass Minority Youth, Despite Improved Youth Unemployment Rate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 2, 2014

Contact: Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org214.223.2913

Employment Gains Continue to Bypass Minority Youth, Despite Improved Youth Unemployment Rate

1 in 5 Young Black Workers Continue to Be Unemployed

[WASHINGTON]— As the national unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent and the economy added 288,000 jobs in April, the unemployment rate for 18- to 29-year-olds declined to 9.1 percent from 10.9 percent in March (not seasonably adjusted). For younger workers, ages 16 to 24, the unemployment rate also fell slightly to 12.8 percent from 14.5 percent in March (seasonally adjusted).

“We know that education and job training are the keys to bringing down young adult unemployment rates, as workers with a post-secondary credential have higher job placement rates than high school graduates,” said Rory O’Sullivan, Deputy Director at Young Invincibles. “To help close the minority youth unemployment gap, Congress should take the Pell Grant off the chopping block, make the aid permanent, and invest in job training for our generation. These solutions connect minority youth to the workforce and are a smart investment for all American taxpayers.”

‪According to TICAS, more than 60 percent of African-American ‪undergraduates and half of Hispanic undergraduates rely on Pell Grants to attend school. Earlier this year, Young Invincibles released In This Together, a new report quantifying the losses realized by federal and state taxpayers due to high young adult unemployment .

Here is more information on how different populations of young people fared in April 2014:

• The unemployment rate for Black young adults ages 16 to 24 in April is 21.4 percent compared to 23.6 percent last month (not seasonally adjusted).

• The unemployment rate for young Latinos ages 16 to 24 in April is 11.6 percent – it was 13.8 percent last month (not seasonally adjusted).

• The unemployment rate for young men ages 16 to 24 in April is 14.3 percent compared to 16 percent last month (seasonally adjusted).

• The unemployment rate for young women ages 16 to 24 in April is 11.2 percent compared to 12.9 percent last month (seasonally adjusted).

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Young Invincibles is a national organization committed to amplifying the voices of young adults, ages 18 to 34, and expanding economic opportunity for our generation. Young Invincibles ensures that young adults are represented in today’s most pressing societal debates through cutting-edge policy research and analysis, and innovative campaigns designed to educate, inform and mobilize our generation to change the status quo. Follow us on Twitter at @YI_Care.

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College grads in Volusia, Flagler face challenges parents never did

Daytona Beach Journal-News

By: Lacey McLaughlin

Sharlatay Willis printed out a stack of resumes and hopped on her bike for another day of job searching. Taking care to prevent her gray dress slacks from getting tangled in her bike chain, the 23-year-old Bethune-Cookman University graduate peddled to a strip mall on Nova Road.

Willis introduced herself and handed her resume to managers at Family Dollar, Save-a-Lot, Burlington Coat Factory and Steak n’ Shake, but they all directed her to apply online where she worries her application will fall into a black hole.

The English major graduated in December with hopes of landing a job as a magazine writer or writing coach for students. But after months of dead ends and no reliable income, Willis said she would be happy to land a part-time service job.

“It gets kind of frustrating because I spent four years working so hard for a college degree and here I am struggling to find a retail job,” said Willis, who has $30,000 in student loans. “I wanted that dream job right out of college. I didn’t know it was going to be this hard.”

Lingering unemployment and student loan debt are creating additional worries for college graduates who are entering a job market that has fewer opportunities than previous generations. An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York two years ago showed 44 percent of recent college graduates — age 22 to 27 — were working in jobs that did not require degrees.

While jobs reports point to a modest recovery and news of new development locally is encouraging, real wages remain stagnant and good jobs are hard to find. Investing in a college degree has traditionally led to higher long-term economic benefits, but the current economic climate raises questions about the financial future of millennials, especially for those like Willis who have degrees in low-demand majors, such as liberal arts and social sciences.

“There is an across-the-board issue here that has led graduates to take positions below what they are qualified for,” said Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida. “Every year that you are working a retail job and not in a degree-related field is a year of experience and human capital that you can’t get back.”

Georgia native Jana Lott moved to Daytona Beach with her college roommate after graduating from St. Leo University on Florida’s west coast with a professional writing degree last May. She aspires to work for a publishing company, but after months of job searching she felt relieved when Kmart hired her for a cashier’s position in October.

Realizing that her 20-hour-a-week job won’t be enough to pay off $125,000 in student loans and cover her living expenses, the 23-year-old moved back home with her mother in Jacksonville when her lease ended this month. Lott said she had been applying for about 20 career-related jobs each week but has taken a break because she feels burned out.

“By the time I am 27, I hope to be working in my career field,” Lott said. “I have never looked at what I should be making. Money isn’t a huge factor to me. I just want to do something I enjoy.”

Research indicates that young adults like Lott may never financially catch up to college graduates who started their careers shortly after graduation.

A new report by the Young Invincibles, a post-recession youth advocacy group, predicts that each jobless worker age 18 to 24 accounts for $4,100 a year in forgone tax revenue and social benefits.

Young Invincibles Policy and Research Manager Tom Allison, who co-authored the report “No End in Sight? The Long-Term Youth Jobs Gap and What it Means for America,” said that the shrinking of middle-class jobs and the burden of student loans create economic barriers for many recent graduates. His organization is pushing for the U.S. Department of Education to release data that tracks college graduates and majors to show who’s getting hired and their starting salaries, in addition to pushing for legislation that would reduce college tuition rates.

“There is a national debate over whether a college degree is working or not,” Allis said. “On average, it completely is. You can expect a million dollars more in life-term earnings with a degree. But there needs to be a shift with transparency and accountability. There needs to be more of a demand from consumers to get a better idea of what the value of a degree is.”

Milestones like becoming a homeowner or reaching retirement are far from Lott’s current worries. She believes the right job is out there and it’s just a matter of time before she finds it.

“I have a lot of friends who get pressure from their parents to just take any job they can find,” Lott said. “I think some people get pushed into jobs they don’t want, and I’m not just going to take a job to get a paycheck.”

Willis, who is from Miami, started looking for jobs in November but said she seldom received a response from publications or schools. When her 20-hour-a-week job on campus ended upon graduation, Willis started looking for any job that would provide a steady income.

“I want to stay in Daytona and find a job. Back at home there’s a lot of trouble that I don’t want to get into and the area is bad when it comes to crime,” Willis said. “Once I get set financially, I hope to go further north and move to a bigger city.”

When she was younger, Willis said her parents pushed her to do well in school and go to college. Her mother, a school bus driver, and father, a car mechanic, told their daughter they wanted her to have more opportunities than they had.

Now Willis has $30,000 in student loans and is struggling to find an opportunity as good as her parents had. She said she is considering going to graduate school if she is unable to find a job in her field by next year but worries about piling up more debt.

Graduates with social science and liberal arts degrees are faring worse in this economy, but the job market has become more competitive as graduates face higher demands from employers, Snaith at UCF said.

In 2010, the national unemployment rate for recent college graduates was about 5 percent and that rate has now climbed to 7 percent. The Federal Reserve Bank study, however, points out that those with college degrees that provide technical training are more likely to be working in their field. For example, 75 percent of those with an engineering degree are working in a job that requires a college degree. The two majors with the lowest unemployment rates are health and education majors.

Willis supports herself through baby-sitting jobs and splits her meager living expenses with roommates. With her bike as her only form of transportation, she cycles to Bethune-Cookman’s campus in Daytona Beach from her Port Orange apartment during the week. On campus, she conducts online job searches and mentors students at the university’s writing center. She also bikes to retail stores along her route to pass out her resume and inquire about jobs.

Her search took a big setback recently when her cellphone fell out of her pocket on the ride home and was never recovered. With no money to replace the phone, Willis found an app that allows her to receive calls and text messages on a tablet, but she is often unable to receive voicemails and the reception is spotty. A missed call could be a missed opportunity.

“Either I am under-qualified for a lot of these jobs or I’m overqualified,” Willis said. “I think there are a lot of different aspects that aren’t giving me the opportunity I want. I feel like I have put a lot of work to get to where I am at and I’m going to have to keep putting in work.”

Willis still hasn’t gone on an interview despite applying for more than a dozen jobs. She is saving her baby-sitting money to pay $150 for a temporary teaching certificate so she can be eligible to work with students at local schools. As she continues to search for service jobs, Willis said she often worries about living so close to the edge. She can’t afford health insurance and receives food stamps to buy groceries. While she is optimistic about her future, the lack of responses from employers is starting to take its toll.

“It’s starting to feel draining because I’m not getting any responses,” she said. “It gets frustrating but I’m still pushing forward.”

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$1tn student debt crisis crushes home-buying dream

BBC News 

By: Beth McLeod

There are plenty of “For Sale” signs in the Philadelphia suburb where Michael Nealis lives with his wife, Jessica. They dream of owning a home and on learning they were expecting their first child, they approached a mortgage adviser.

“We were told immediately that no mortgage company would touch me with the amount of student loan debt that I have,” Mr Nealis says.

He studied for an undergraduate degree for four years and owes $64,000 (£38,138) in student loans. He is now a science teacher and Jessica works as a special needs assistant in a school.

‘Beyond frustrating’

But with stricter rules for mortgage lenders now in place following the sub-prime debt crisis, their debt-to-income ratio disqualifies them from a loan.

Student debt repayments account for around 45% of Mr Nealis’ monthly take-home pay, making it impossible, he says, to save for a deposit.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” he says. “We’re left in a situation where we can’t qualify for anything. I make a decent living but I don’t make enough to pay $1,200 a month in student loans.”

Housing market experts say that many young people are in the same situation, which is dampening demand for homes. First-time buyers have historically been the bedrock of the US housing market, accounting for around 40% of total sales.

Campaigns against high college costs, including this one in California in 2012, have been waged over the years, yet the price of a degree remains high

The latest figures from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) show that in February 2014 they only accounted for 28%.

NAR President Steve Brown said that in a recent consumer survey, 56% of younger buyers who took longer to save for a down payment identified student debt as the biggest obstacle.

“It’s clear there are other people who would like to buy a home that are not in the market because of debt issues, so we can expect a lingering impact of delayed home buying,” he said.

Levels of student debt have risen substantially in recent years. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, aggregate student loans nationwide have almost quadrupled in the past ten years, from $253bn at the end of 2003 to $1.08tn at the end of 2013.

It is now the second-highest form of consumer debt after mortgages, overtaking credit card borrowing and car loans. One of the main reasons is that the price of higher education is rising.

Between 2000-12 the average cost of four-year college tuition increased 44%. The rise was highest at public universities, which have traditionally provided a cheaper alternative to for-profit and private institutions.

Call for forgiveness

The income level of the average family has not kept pace, and so students are taking out more loans. The CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, David Stevens, is worried by the trend.

“If the average college graduate has more student debt than we have ever seen the likes of before in this country, that has an extraordinarily dampening effect on their ability to buy a home,” he says.

“With housing making up a fifth of the gross domestic product of this country, that could have an adverse impact on the pace of the economic recovery.”

Many students are paying for college – and cannot afford to buy a house

He says that policymakers are starting to take note that student debt may be starting to drag down the economy.

“Some are calling for some form of debt forgiveness programme,” he says. “Some are discussing providing subsidies for young people to buy their first homes.”

Worth it?

There are also proposals in Congress to reset student loan interest rates and make debt refinancing easier, amid concerns that increasing numbers of graduates are unable to repay their loans back in time.

In 2003, 6.2% of borrowers were at least 90 days late making a payment. By 2013 that number had risen to 11.5%.

Research shows that having a university education does pay off in the long term; graduates have lower rates of unemployment and higher salaries. But Aaron Smith, who founded Young Invincibles to represent the interests of 18-34-year-olds, says people he speaks to are increasingly worried about the cost.

“There’s a lot of scepticism out there among young people about whether it’s worth going to college anymore,” he says. “They see their older brothers and sisters in huge amounts of debt and question whether they want to be in that position.”

He said that this could hinder social mobility in the US.

“One of the ways people from different spheres of our economic system moved up was by getting an education then being able to buy a house, which opened up a path to the middle class for millions of Americans,” he says. “That is becoming more of a distant reality for a lot of young people.”

Homeownership certainly seems a very distant dream for Mr Nealis.

“I thought I did everything right,” he says. “I had a blue-collar father, a work-from-home mother and I was trying to do better. But it seems that having got an education, I’m now in a situation worse than they were.”

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Mishory: We need solutions that invest in young people

CBS News

By: Stephanie Condon

The Labor Department on Friday reported a solid 192,000 jobs were added to the economy in March. The uptick in jobs was generally good news, but the Republican National Committee spotlighted one group still lagging: young adults.

While the overall unemployment rate stayed at 6.7 percent, the unemployment rate for 20-24 year-olds increased from 11.9 percent to in February to 12.2 percent in March. For workers ages 16 to 24, the unemployment rate rose marginally to from 14.4 percent in February 14.5 percent.

“Young people propelled Obama to office, but have not seen any benefits from his agenda,” Republican National Committee spokesman Raffi Williams said in a statement. “The latest youth unemployment figures show how Obama’s policies of higher taxes, increased regulations and, most importantly, ObamaCare have stunted Millennials economic opportunity.”

The left-leaning group Young Invincibles said the proposals put forward by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would only exacerbate the problem.

“Young adults continue to face unemployment rates twice the national average, so cuts like those proposed in the House Budget Committee’s FY2015 budget undermine our generation’s chance at getting a job and climbing the ladder of economic mobility,” Jen Mishory, the group’s deputy director, said in a statement. “We need solutions that invest in young people and connect them to the workforce, like increasing apprenticeships and an expansion of AmeriCorps.”

President Obama last specifically addressed youth unemployment in the context of the European economy, during a press conference last month in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

“One of the tragedies of high youth unemployment is that when young people don’t have a strong attachment to the labor market early, that can continue for the rest of their careers and they never fully recoup what’s lost in terms of their potential earnings and their ability to advance in the labor market,” Mr. Obama said.

With respect to the Labor Department’s latest report, White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Friday called it “pretty encouraging.” Since the recession started at the outset of the Obama administration, the nation has made “a ton of progress,” he said, adding that “we’re not going to rest on our laurels.”

“There is so much work that needs to be done to expand economic opportunity for everybody,” Earnest said.

Democrats in Congress used the report to push their economic and political agenda, which focuses on pocketbook issues like raising the minimum wage.

“This continued job growth is encouraging, but we need to do more to ensure that everyone in Nevada and across the country has a fair shot at the American Dream,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement. “My Republican colleagues have a choice: will they join Democrats to stand with the middle class, or will they continue to stand with the Koch brothers as they try to rig our political system to benefit billionaires like themselves?”

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