Despite some positive developments like decreasing unemployment rates and the expanding manufacturing and service sectors, the increasing number of people leaving the labor market and poor projected employment growth may keep unemployment above precession levels for another eight years. However, despite the recovery being especially tough on younger Americans, there are still reasons to be optimistic. Here are five things that should give millennials hope for the future.
1. Some Industries Are Currently Experiencing Growth
Despite sluggish growth for the overall economy, there are still sectors that are actually experiencing better than average growth. According to 2012 Bureau of Labor statistics, many of the top 14 fastest projected growing industries are in high paying fields such as software development and management consulting. This annual list of fast growing industries provides a good reference for graduating high school seniors as they begin to think about their futures.
2. Labor Shortages in Key Industries
In addition to above average growth in some industries, there are also many fields where growth is actually being held back by the lack of qualified workers. Prior cries of shortages in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) actually turned out to be employer preference for foreigners over American workers. More Americans stand to benefit from better performance and investment in STEM education.
3. Women Gaining Ground on Men
A closer look at gender pay discrepancies shows that these differences are not necessarily attributed to discrimination. The widening education gap between men and women should help improve income gaps in the near future, especially if more women enter into STEM-related majors.
4. You Can Create Your Own Job
For many people, talk of entering the real world brings up images of 40 hour work weeks, cubicles, and business suits. However, the new millennium has brought with it some very interesting professions to go along with some more established careers people rarely think about. Creative types with entrepreneurial instincts can benefit from technological advances that bring new opportunities to pay the bills, and then some.
5. You're Young!
This is the time to take risks, travel the world, and experience new things. You still have time to try to break into your dream job before you get bogged down by the responsibilities that come with supporting a family. This is not the time to sit on your couch and feel sorry for yourself. Get up and start setting and reaching your life goals.