11.14.2013 1

53 percent of young adults give up on American dream

Hope_FadingBy Robert Romano

Since 2009, the civilian non-institutional population 25 to 64 years old has increased by 4.01 million as of September 2013, according to data compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Almost half of them, more than 1.6 million, are between the ages of 25 and 34, but there’s a big problem. Only 47 percent, or 779,000 of them have entered the labor force, that is, either working or looking for work.

The majority, 864,000, are not working and are not even looking for work.

As a result the labor force participation rate for that age bracket has decreased from 82.6 to 81.2 percent as of September. If the participation rate had just held steady, another 564,000 would be either working or looking for work.

This is simply devastating.

These young adults, in the primes of their lives have given up looking for work, a horrible state of affairs.

While previous analyses by others have long assumed that the declining labor force participation is owed entirely to Baby Boomers retiring, this new analysis refutes the claim altogether.

In fact, based on Bureau data, the labor force participation rate among those 65 years and older has increased from 17.2 percent to 18.7 percent, with the amount of seniors working or looking for work increasing by nearly 1.7 million in the past five years.

A large part of these trends is owed to Boomers living longer, and working longer, not retiring en masse.

But mostly, it’s because the economy is simply not creating the jobs it once did. To get back on track, the economy needs to get moving again, and fast.

Otherwise, a majority of young people will continue to give up on the American dream and join the ranks of the lost generation.

ALG Editor’s note: This piece ignores data from the October labor force survey, which was skewed by the partial federal government shutdown, giving a more accurate portrayal of current labor market conditions.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

Copyright © 2008-2022 Americans for Limited Government