Have you ever met a parent who doesn’t want what’s best for their child, or who doesn’t care whether that child’s life will be better than their own? Probably not. So why are we so blasé about the fact that today’s young people are so much worse off than they ought to be?
In Spain and Greece, nearly half of all young people cannot find jobs. In the Middle East, young people account for 40 percent or more of all unemployed people in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia and nearly 60 percent in Syria and Egypt. And in the United States, which traditionally has had a strong job creation record, more than 18 percent of all young job seekers cannot find employment.
-Nemat Shafik, on the IMF Direct Blog
Just when did we stop giving a shit? The following IMF graph is a bit outdated, but still: crisis or no crisis, the world has never been wealthier than it is now.
So why does it seem like the situation of young is getting worse every day? Let’s hone in on the US:
- Student loan debt has passed the $1 trillion mark. Students borrowed $117 billion last year, alone (Source: CFPB)
- More than 4 million young people were unemployed in the US last year. (Source: International Youth Foundation)
- Last month’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among those aged 16-19 (that is, the proportion of people who are actively searching for work but could not find it) was 23.8%. It was 8.3% for the wider population (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Almost 40% of young adults say that they’ve moved back in with their parents because of the economy. (Source: Pew Research Center)
The percentage of Americans aged 18 to 25 who are uninsured has been declining since the fourth quarter of 2010. This decrease has coincided with the implementation of a provision of the new healthcare law that allows this age group to stay on their parents’ plans.
In 1968 we marched to change the world, and shook the self-confidence of the political elite. But when this failed to change the world, my contemporaries changed their clothes and took jobs in investment banks. Then they presided over, and benefited from, the longest bull market in securities in history.