Imagine a whole generation of young people who have virtually no chance of doing better – or even as well – as their parents. Well, it is not a thought experiment. It is a very real possibility, right here in the United States:
The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.
And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults — aged 16 to 24, excluding students — getting a job and moving out of their parents’ houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession — in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.
The dream of every generation of parents is that their children will be able to reach higher than the parents themselves did. But that hope is based on the children starting from a relatively higher economic position than the parents started from. And it is based on a steady progression of lower-paying to higher paying jobs as skills are learned.
What if the kids cannot get their foot on the first rung of the ladder. What is there is a launch failure, so to speak? They don’t get those vital skills, they don’t learn how to function in a job.
They are in a hole right from the get-go. And that starting damage compounds through the rest of their lives.
The expert the article quotes, Al Angrisani, a former assistant Labor Department secretary under President Reagan, believes it may take four or five years for jobs to recover in this country. (He also places blame squarely on the Obama administration for failing to understand the economic growth engine that is small business in this country).
I’ve posted about this terrible statistic before, of course.