Millennial Unemployment Rate is 11%, But Nobody in DC Really Seems to Care

Friday’s November jobs report was a small early holiday gift for Americans — but millennials as a specific group are still facing frigid job conditions.

The unemployment rate for millennials (aged 18-29) specifically is 10.9%, far higher than the national unemployment rate of 7.7%, which dropped over the last month. The “real unemployment” figure — taking account of those people who are 1) looking for work but are unemployed, 2) those unemployed and who have given up looking for work, 3) and those under-employed — is an astonishing 16%.


Millennials were a critical voting bloc for President Obama (remember when we won you the 2008 election? Oh, and we really came out and gave you a huge boost in 2012, btw.) that have been consistently under-serviced in this election year. Both candidates in election 2012 rarely mentioned the plights of young people, whether it be unemployment, student debt, or health care. 

The fact that millennials are failing to find employment in the economy is a troubling sign that could point to longer-term economic and social problems for America. But it is also one that remains in the shadows for many policy makers in Washington, D.C.

Generation Opportunity a national, non-partisan organization advocating for the millennial generation specifically, announced the figure on Friday in its Millennial Jobs Report for November 2012. The data is non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) and is specific to 18-29 year olds. Here are some of the bigger take-aways:

  • The overall unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds for November 2012 is 10.9% (NSA).
  • The unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African Americans for November 2012 is 18.5% (NSA); the unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics for November 2012 is 12.5% (NSA); and the unemployment rate for 18–29 year old women for November 2012 is 10.5% (NSA).
  • The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.7 million young adults that are not counted as "unemployed" by the Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.
  • If the labor force participation rate were factored into the 18-29 unemployment calculations, the actual Millennial unemployment rate would rise to 16.4% (NSA).

The youth unemployment number is just barely down from October, when it was pushing 12%. Still the “real unemployment” has only dropped by 0.2%, from 16.6% in October.

Millennials continue to be massively pushed aside in any economic debate, especially in the on-going fiscal cliff negotiations. Politicians don’t seem to want to cater to the millennial demographic, despite the fact that we were critical in shaping the current political environment, especially in giving the power which the president now enjoys.  

Millennial voters represented around 20% of all those who voted in the 2012 election. That's an increase — BY THE WAY — of one percentage point from 2008. Obama captured 60% youth vote, compared with Mitt Romney's 36%.

Still, how many times has Obama mentioned millennials post-election? What grand policies is Obama pushing for millennials today (Latinos, btw, are increasingly seeing new immigration reform pushed because of their influence in election 2012)? Who is preaching for millennial jobs in the fiscal cliff talks? Hell, I bet that whatever grand fiscal cliff compromise that comes about won’t even feature millennials.

So why should you care, Obama?

Well, I’m just spit-balling here, but from a social standpoint, large amounts of out-of-work young people can see their participation in crime and illegal activity jump. In more extreme cases, there can also be social unrests, similar to the youth riots that occurred in London in 2011. Depression and anxiety levels can all rise in this demographic.

Sure these are horror stories, and there are plenty of examples of young people entering into the workforce and seeing success, especially in the start-up arena (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is 28, and has built a social media economic bubble that is helping rejuvenate the economy). But how many Zuckerbergs are currently out of work right now? How many bright minds are sidelined? And what is that doing to our economy?

Alas, all that millennials can currently do is rant. Our voice falls on deaf ears.

We’re definitely turning out not only to be the Screwed Generation, but also the Invisible Generation.

Thanks, Obama.

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