August Jobs Report: 16% of Millennials Still Can't Find Work

The U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs in August, sending the unemployment rate down to 7.3% from 7.4%, according to Friday's newest jobs report. In today's economic climate, even an incremental decrease can be cause for celebration. But there's little indication of relief for millennials, who are facing unprecedented challenges as they march towards a exceedingly tough job market this Fall. What's more, the timing of these disappointing figures for young people will only strengthen criticism against Obamacare as the president pushes for millennials to opt into the program.

According a Millennial Jobs Report published through Generation Opportunity, a national youth advocacy organization advocating for economic opportunity through "less government and more freedom," 16% of 18-29 year olds can't find work. This is a figure of the "effective rate," that adjusts for work force participation by including those who have given up on the job search.

Without these adjustments, Generation Opportunity claims 1.7 million young adults who have given up on finding work are not counted by the Department of Labor in monthly employment figures. Including these young unemployed Americans would, of course, drive August's rate up.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the Millennial generation is the country's "most educated" generation to-date. And yet, according to Gallup,  fewer of these millennials with a college degree now hold a full-time job than did in June 2012 and June 2011.

Furthermore, the summer rates from this year seem to stand at a historic high. According to Generation Opportunity, is the highest sustained unemployment figures for the Millennial age group since World War II. The rate is particularly high for young people who are minorities. The unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans is a whopping 20.9%.

The disappointing summer report indicating how significantly millennials struggle to find full-time work will undoubtedly have an impact on support for Obamacare as the President revs up to encourage young people to sign on. A major criticism against Obama's plan is that it fails to incentivize companies to provide full-time work opportunities. Young, healthy millennials are a crucial demographic to secure as opt-in candidates for the new health care plan. The success of Obamacare is not only contingent on the strengths of its proposals, but also on the timing of these finnicky job reports in the months ahead.

Unsurprisingly, Generation Opportunity pounced on the high numbers to make the point that Obamacare is a poor solution to Millennials' employment woes. "As the summer draws to a close, young people are no better off than we were three months ago," the organization's press release states. "Practically all of the jobs created this summer were part-time, and precious few even went to young people. Worse, the looming threat of Obamacare offers employers little incentive to transition any of those jobs into full-time positions."

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Rachel George

Rachel is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics. She holds a BA in Politics from Princeton and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard. Her interests include journalism, U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and international law.

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