Return to the Latest

Hard Economic Times Rob Young Voters of ‘Hope’

National Journal on November 2, 2011

Obama and Bieber

As President Obama dusts off his 2008 theme of hope in anticipation of his reelection campaign, he has a problem to get around: Among young voters, one of his most crucial constituencies, hope is, like, so yesterday.

A new report published jointly by Demos, a liberal think tank, and Young Invincibles, an advocacy group for young adults, highlights the dramatic effects of the Great Recession on the countrys youngest workers. The State of Young America says that the economic slowdown has battered Americans ages 18 to 34, both in terms of their current employment prospects and their hopes for tomorrow.

The two groups estimate underemployment at 16 percent for 25- to 34-year-olds and a troubling 29 percent for adults under 25. The last time the Bureau of Labor Statistics measured unemployment, in September, the rate for adults ages 18 to 34 was 12.1 percent, well above the 9.1 percent national average. And that did not take into account the unemployed in that age bracket who have stopped seeking work.

Polling conducted for the report demonstrates the pernicious effects of the job shortage. Of the unemployed young adults surveyed, less than half 48 percent expressed optimism about finding a job within the next six months.