by Brantley Hargrove
The workers bearing the disproportionate brunt of the recession are young, underemployed or unemployed and struggling to gain a foothold at a critical stage in life. In Texas, the overall unemployment rate is 6.8 percent. The number of unemployed, aged 16 to 24, is more than double that, a report finds.
Because these numbers pertain to an entire generation — comprising mostly the oft-reviled Millennials — they should be of concern for every living generation. They are the future, and right now a big chunk of that future is failing to launch.
According to Young Invincibles, a national organization dedicated to expanding work opportunities for young adults, increased college enrollment is only part of this story. More young people are taking part-time work and fewer are finding full-time jobs. Since the precipitous fall in the number of young Texans with full-time jobs in 2007 — some 10 percent in the space of just a few years — the numbers are beginning a very, very modest rebound.
But the group urges caution before we all start high-fiving and proclaiming the great recession at an end. Stocks may be hitting historic highs; home prices may be edging up again; and job creation may just barely be keeping pace with population growth. Yet participation in the workforce of those 55 and older is rising, while it continues to fall among the young.
It may take them years — even a decade — to realize the kinds of wages they would have earned in bumper times. College grads who enter the workforce during an economic downturn, if they find work at all, are often underemployed, and the stain on a career track persists. Yale study found. “The coming years will be pivotal to the economic future of Texas’ young adults,” the group says.
Oddly enough, these Millennials, despite being dealt a terrible hand at the beginning of their professional lives, were found to be optimistic about the future of this country, even as it sank into the depths of economic malaise, Pew research said. And if there’s one thing young folks looking for work in Texas and elsewhere could use right about now, it’s a little hope.