Employment low for young adults
The unemployment rate for Americans aged 18 to 29 topped out at 12.7 percent in August, according to a new study by the conservative nonprofit group Generation Opportunity.
That number is a full four points higher than the national average for August.
The survey, conducted by polling group inc./Woman Trend, collected responses from 1,003 randomly selected online opt-in panel participants via email.
Generation Opportunity specifically addresses the concerns of millennials with the goal of engaging them in the democratic process.
Unemployment is just one part of that picture. Generation Opportunity President Paul Conway is a former U.S. Department of Labor and Office of Personnel Management chief of staff who served during President George W. Bush’s administration.
National unemployment rates fell from 8.3 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS does not present statistics for the 18 to 29 year-old category. The national unemployment rate in August for people 18 and 19 years old was 22.7 percent. For residents between the ages of 20 and 24, the unemployment rate was 13.9 percent.
Conway said recent dips in unemployment numbers reflect another trend.
“The net effect of that number going down is more people dropped out of the labor market,” Conway said.
Conway also cited the “Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession” report released by Rutgers University in May.
The study sampled recent college graduates from the classes of 2006 through 2011. Of the 444 graduates surveyed, 51 percent were employed full time, and 20 percent were attending graduate school.
Conway said young workers have been impacted by the double factors of older workers who are retiring later and businesses shying away from expansion.
Conway pointed to the survey’s other findings as indicative of a downward trend. In the survey, 89 percent of respondents said the current state of the economy is impacting their day-to-day lives.
“It’s just a very practical concern that young adults need to know, especially if they’re in college and racking up debt,” Conway said.
He said millennials should focus on making themselves marketable.
August unemployment statistics are not yet available for Indiana or Monroe County.
Tim Tucker, president of Express Employment Professionals in Bloomington, has increased recruiting because what he called the “effective unemployment rate” has, in his opinion, decreased to nothing.
He said he sees trends toward a mismatch in potential employees’ qualifications and employers’ needs.
“In the Bloomington area specifically, we are seeing a talent gap a little bit,” Tucker said.
Tucker said entry-level jobs are left unfilled because the hiring pool doesn’t include enough reliable or qualified workers.
Also, Tucker said, many qualified workers are unaware of available jobs.
Tucker said he feels job placement agencies like his haven’t done a good job of communicating to millennials regarding the number and level of jobs available.
One factor Tucker mentioned was the link to university programs.
Conway emphasized the importance of placement rates for young people choosing to pursue a degree. At the Kelley School of Business’s Undergraduate Career Services Office, Director Susie Clarke said graduate placement rates remain high.
Clarke said data comes only from students who self-report their placement, but last year’s placement rate was 93 percent.
Placement includes those who continued into graduate programs, which Clarke said is happening at the same rate as in previous years.
The Generation Opportunity survey reported a different trend. Eighty-four percent had planned but now might delay or not make a major life change or move to forward on a major purchase due to the current state of the economy.
Those major changes included “buying their own place,” starting a family or going back to school.
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