It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


“Young Workers: A Lost Decade.”

page: 1
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

+32 more 
posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 11:11 AM
I know some may say this phenomenon is a "failure to launch" or a result of helicoptering Boomer parents who encourage clinging. Others may question the source of the survey, The AFL-CIO. However, I have witnessed this happening in my own workplace as a result of corporate policies and in my own extended family as a result of economic conditions.

Something bad happened in the past 10 years to young workers in this country: Since 1999, more of them now have lower-paying jobs, if they can get a job at all; health care is a rare luxury and retirement security is something for their parents, not them. In fact, many—younger than 35—still live at home with their parents because they can’t afford to be on their own.

These are the findings of a new report, “Young Workers: A Lost Decade.” Conducted in July 2009 by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the AFL-CIO and our community affiliate Working America, the nationwide survey of 1,156 people follows up on a similar survey the AFL-CIO conducted in 1999. The deterioration of young workers’ economic situation in those 10 years is alarming.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

• 31 percent of young workers report being uninsured, up from 24 percent 10 years ago, and 79 percent of the uninsured say they don’t have coverage because they can’t afford it or their employer does not offer it.

• Strikingly, one in three young workers are currently living at home with their parents.

• Only 31 percent say they make enough money to cover their bills and put some money aside—22 percentage points fewer than in 1999—while 24 percent cannot even pay their monthly bills.

• A third cannot pay their bills and seven in 10 do not have enough saved to cover two months of living expenses.

• 37 percent have put off education or professional development because they can’t afford it.

• When asked who is most responsible for the country’s economic woes, close to 50 percent of young workers place the blame on Wall Street and banks or corporate CEOs. And young workers say greed by corporations and CEOs is the factor most to blame for in the current financial downturn.

• By a 22-point margin, young workers favor expanding public investment over reducing the budget deficit. Young workers rank conservative economic approaches such as reducing taxes, government spending and regulation on business among the five lowest of 16 long-term priorities for Congress and the president.

• Thirty-five percent say they voted for the first time in 2008, and nearly three-quarters now keep tabs on government and public affairs, even when there’s not an election going on.

• The majority of young workers and nearly 70 percent of first-time voters are confident that Obama will take the country in the right direction.

Aside from the last point about faith in Obama (that's quickly drying up...), I have to agree with most of the points made.

I have witnessed the systematic dismantling of full time workers and benefits in my own workplace even while CEO pay went up despite reduced earnings and profits. Most of the people we hire are now completely under-jobbed and are grateful for it, despite the lack of any perks whatsoever and virtually no opportunity for advancement.

I have watched my younger siblings struggle with the job market and worry about benefits, health care and educational debt. Only one in three of them owns a house, has purchased their own vehicle and participates in the traditional age appropriate activities of marriage and starting a family. It's not that they don't want to, they just find the prospect of those sorts of investments too financially over-whelming and burdensome. These aren't slackers, these are young people with post graduate degrees and dual majors in useful fields that should allow for good job prospects.

They talk amongst their friends as being the new "lost generation." It even carries over into their dating habits where many in their circle shun committed or long-term relationships so they don't have to deal with the financial expectations that so often come with commitment.

I just don't see any easy or quick fix for this problem. I also can't see how it will play out in our future. What kind of America will we have? There are precious few people entering the Middle Class and a lot more people falling out of it.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 11:42 AM
Great post.

I myself have experienced this and witnessed it first hand. I would fall into the under 35 category, rent, probably won't be able to afford a mortgage for a few years at least.

I'm pretty well educated, but had to settle for a low skill and low paying job just to make ends meet. Wanted to pursue more higher education, but due to financial circumstances I was unable to attend.

I think this article is spot on, we are indeed "The Lost Generation."

+5 more 
posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 12:02 PM
From a social/psychological viewpoint, Thomas Friedman called it Generation Q (for quiet)

But really that just scratched the surface. Here's an excellent rebuttal:

Generation Overwhelmed

We can't be you, because we don't live in your time. We don't have the benefit of focus, the cushion of cheap rent, the luxury of not knowing just how complicated the world really is. Instead we have corporate conglomerates, private military contracts, the WTO and the IMF, school debt, and no health insurance. We are savvy and we are saturated and we are scared.

We are painstakingly composing our Facebook profiles because we did our daily round of news sites, and it left us feeling powerless and unsafe, like the only place to put our energies was inward. We are studying abroad because it feels like the only obvious way to interact with the world we care so deeply about. We are dancing at house parties on Friday nights because we talked about your op-ed, the war in Iraq, rape in Congo, but in the end, we just felt overeducated and underutilized.

You call that quiet. I call that coping.

[edit on 3/9/2009 by kosmicjack]

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 12:19 PM
Generation Q reminds me of the "Beat Generation" of the fifties. Except GQ doesn't have economy of the fifties which was vibrant and growing.
And like the "beats" the GQ kids I know, are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with their angst.

Perhaps it's the conspiricy theorist in me that sees this situation with our young people almost to contrived by the PTB.

America can't handle another Lost Generation. My prayers are with them.

[edit on 3-9-2009 by whaaa]

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 12:49 PM
I agree, young people today are getting kinda screwed. I'm in college right now, and I see it all the time. Not too many people my age are aware of what is going on, nor do they care. They're just as happy watching "Rock of Love" and listening to the garbage Lil' Wayne puts out instead of paying attention to what matters. If you tell them something alarming that our government does, they just brush it off as a crazy rumor with no truth to it by saying "Don't believe everything you hear." For example, the new legislations in a couple of states involving the swine flu quarantine and violations of the 4th Amendment. It also seems many of them are programmed to think that all guns and firearms are bad, and anybody who has one is either a criminal or will use the weapon in a crime in the near future. They aren't just asleep - they are almost brainwashed. They accept anything that comes from MSNBC and other MSM sources like it to be all facts and completely objective, and laugh at anything else no matter how many sources and how much evidence there is supporting the alternative story. Many of them were the ones who voted for our current president, and believed every word he said. They still believe in him completely, and support his every move (which they don't even know what he's done so far). If you disagree with him, some begin to think you're a racist (same card the MSM always pulls). It's sad...

The economy is terrible for us too. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to find a job this summer to hold me over until I go back to school. I have a clean background check, with not so much as a speeding ticket. I had a completely open schedule with the exception of a 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. class on two weeknights for one month. Yet, over me, I've seen them take somebody seemingly much less desirable - somebody who was a high school dropout, who had limited hours, who had a poor work history, and who even had a criminal record. The statistics showed this fallacy too: Every month the number of unemployed young people grew dramatically in comparison to all other groups.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by LetTheTruthBeTold

With regard to your job situation, you are now competing with older (corporate translation: more stable and experienced) workers who have been downsized from better paying jobs and, at this point, will take any job. And you are competing with lower-skilled (corporate translation: uneducated or foreign-born workers) who will likely work for a much lower wage than you.

It's been amazing and disheartening to personally observe corporations doing this over the past five years or so.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by kosmicjack

I'm sorry, but I think much of this is a cop-out. This trend has been going on for some time and not only with young people. The constant jab against the "evil CEO" is a target to transfer your situation onto someone else. I certainly agree that CEO pay is an issue, but it is not a government issue and it is not one that impacts society at large. It is an issue with a specific public company. The fact that a CEO makes $50M a year is not the cause of this problem. Consider the fact that many of these CEOs also created thousands of jobs through their performance on the job. You don't hear about that. I would say that issue is a wash.

This trend with young folks has been going on for a couple of decades, including the boom years of the 80's and 90's. We are evolving into a culture that simply values a lack of committment. Commitment to hard work, to education, to relationships. I realize that I am making a generalization, but even when times were good, this was happening. I worked in corporate America - in the evil financial services industry and have hired hundreds of young people over the past 25 years. There has been a significant degregation in the quality of young job applicants during that period. These were good jobs, full insurance, paid education. Pretty much the best corporate America has to offer. Young folks who don't speak proper English, have poor written and verbal communications skills, don't come to interviews dressed professionally, or with visible tattoos or piercings is something that just did not happen 15-20 years ago. I have had to interview dozens of applicants for a good job, even administrative jobs before I had two or three candidates to choose from.

There are other factors going on here. People are living longer, staying healthy longer and working longer. That erodes some of the "room at the bottom" for young workers. The employment law environment hurts employment for young people. I would be much more inclined to pay over-time to an employee who I knew was a trusted member of the team rather than hire someone who it is pretty difficult to fire should they not perform. When you hire in corporate America today, you are essentially told what groups are underrepresented on your team and are strongly advised to hire in these under represented groups. Why? because if you have a performance problem with someone in an under represented group, that under representation will always be used as "grounds for dissmissal"when the sue. They will sue. the list of protected groups is large:
--anyone over 40
--anyone of an ethnic minority
--alternative sexual preference, including cross-dressing
--religious belief
--folks with body modifications (visible tattoos, piercings). These are now considered almost religious in the eyes of the law

When you get down to it, only white makes under 40 are unprotected. That is part of the problem.

If the government continues down the path it is on this problem will get worse, not better. Take a look at France. It is practically impossible to fire someone in France, creating a real discentive to hire young people. The unemployment rate for young workers in France is close to 20%. France has a mandated 35 hour work week. That coupled with the above creates an environment where companys have an incentive not to grow.

I realize that it might be dificult to swallow, but lower taxes and less government involvement in the free market has consistently led to growth in the economy and increases in wages and increases in unemployment. As JFK said "a rising tide lifts all boats". Cut taxes, get the government out of the market place and firms will grow and more folks will get hired.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 02:33 PM
This is the NEET and hikikomori phenomenon.I predicted long ago we would see an increase in the USA. Its just hopeless out there now.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 02:41 PM
I will flag this...

because I am living it.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 03:35 PM

Originally posted by dolphinfan Young folks who don't speak proper English, have poor written and verbal communications skills, don't come to interviews dressed professionally, or with visible tattoos or piercings is something that just did not happen 15-20 years ago. I have had to interview dozens of applicants for a good job, even administrative jobs before I had two or three candidates to choose from.

I certainly can't disagree with this portion of your post. That's been my experience as well. However, since the downturn I find that people of all ages are trying much harder to make a good impression.

However, the purpose of the OP isn't necessarily to rail against Corporate America, though I would happily engage in that debate as an interested observer and long-time corporate sell-out myself. I have strong opinions on the matter from experiencing the issue first hand from the belly of the beast. I've had to have difficult conversations with employees and tell them they will be down-sized and/or lose benefits. I've lost talented workers only to replace them with less qualified, lower waged employees. I've long since exhausted and persuaded my friends and family who once thought as you do. They see the light now and it's coming from the shiny bottoms of their empty 401k and savings accounts.

What I'm speaking specifically of here is an entire generation of people who look to their future and don't see very much opportunity. Yes the aging workforce is one element. But by the time those workers are retired or down-sized themselves, Corporate America will have learned its lessons well from this crisis of economic contraction. Even now companies are generally not replacing workers who leave - companies will never again get as big or as bulky. They will be leaner in this new era of "sustainable growth," which is really just corporate speak for keeping more resources at the top of the corporate ladder.

The U.S. has not done very much, if anything, to nurture or perpetuate a Middle Class. Who will buy all of the houses that Boomers want to unload when they retire? To a large degree that crisis has already started as evidenced by the glut in the housing market. It will get worse as the years tick by. What will happen to the stock market when Boomers restructure themselves for retirement? Young people in general don't have that type of extra income for investment. Retirement plans are a thing of the past and my own company just discontinued its 401K program.

Even if they have money, people under 30 or so tend to not want as many material things in the way other generations have. So now that we have a consumer/service economy, who’s going to buy all the stuff?

[edit on 3/9/2009 by kosmicjack]

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 05:10 PM
It isn't just the US either. We've got the exact same phenomenon over here in Australia too... although we aren't as well respected.

Your first post describes pretty much the situation myself and many of my school mates are stuck in. Over here in the media my generation is labeled as lazy and incompetent because we can't get jobs and get out of home. They speak as if we aren't trying.

Trust me, I'm working my ass off getting qualifications and looking for work. I'm trying to save from what little government support I get to move out of home, but there is no chance of it within the next few years without a job.

I've got a killer resume, as I have been told by industry insiders, yet it rarely (if ever) gets me an interview these days because there is like 200 - 1000 people going for each job.

I don't like the world at the moment. I'd just like to go back to being a carefree 5 year old... and stay there.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 05:23 PM
I had this exact conversation with my friends yesterday.

In my opinion it seems like younger people, even if they are better educated and have more skills including computer skills than older people, are paid less across the board simply because employers know that younger people are desperate for work and will accept much lower wages than older adults.

I personally think a lot of the problem is the vague sense of contempt that the older generation has for the younger generation. They consider us lazy because school is expensive so many of have student loans, and so they have to live with their parents and work full time at crappy minimum wage jobs just to get by. Even if you are lucky enough to have no debt you still start with pretty much nothing in your bank account and have to save for a down payment on a house, which takes a few years... or you just keep renting and throwing good money -- a huge portion of your paycheck -- into the black hole every month. At the end of the month how much money are you really putting away after rent, food, insurance, household items like detergent and toilet paper and toothpaste? Nothing, especially if you are trying to make it on your own or save for a house while paying rent and everything. People wonder why so few young people have insurance... they can't afford it!

One participant brought up tattoos. In my opinion, how is judging people by tattoos any different from judging them by skin color? You are judging them by skin color... think about it. Informal dress... if you don't have a job chances are you are pretty broke and can't afford formal attire unless your parents buy them for you, which just brings you back to "failure to launch" status. Or you just come to work wearing the same outfit every day and that gets interpreted as laziness.

If you are younger and you are lucky enough to be employed, look around your workplace at your coworkers. Do you know how much they are being paid? Keep your sanity and don't ask, the answer might piss you off.

[edit on 3-9-2009 by Albastion]

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 05:35 PM

Originally posted by Albastion

If you are younger and you are lucky enough to be employed, look around your workplace at your coworkers. Do you know how much they are being paid? Keep your sanity and don't ask, the answer might piss you off.

We've got the exact same problem in Northern Europe/Scandinavia aswell.
Yesterday I found out that my co-worker has over twice my salary. We work the exact same hours, and got the same responsibilities.

All this because she's twice my age.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 05:50 PM
Funnily enough, I read a very similar article in the Manchester Metro here in the UK today, similar statistics as well. Must say I tend to agree with the OP almost entirely.

I went for an interview at an access college yesterday and was talking to the guy infront of me in the queue, he was saying he's been constantly applying for jobs and rarely hears back, which I can understand, the last job position in the place I work had about 40-50 applicants, we gave up accepting CVs early last year as we ran out of space to keep them. I know university graduates that are working in Subway... the situation is fairly insane. I'd really like to think of "us" (I'm in the age band the article refers to) as akin to the 50s youth/culture generation, gladly I know some great articulate people, but there's not the thrust of feeling for the most part, we generally feel doomed and unable to "fight the power", those of us that live out of home are so worried about paying bills, we're too scared to jepoardise it by being arrested for a civil protest or the like.

There's a few threads I'm subscribed to on here that seem to have a weird synchronicity at the moment, maybe there will be a change...

On the subject of tattoos:

Wooah - I am someone that has visible tattoos, hands and neck thankyou, nothing offensive (other than the tattoos), but nothing gory or bad-language related... and that did come across as slightly offensive and strangely it hasn't (thus far) affected my employment opportunities - it's hard enough to get a rejection letter from a written application and amazingly difficult to even get an interview here in the UK at the moment. Personally, I've gotten every job I've ever interviewed for - as a heavily tattooed person - of course I turn up in a shirt and tie, you can still see my hands and neck, but I accord the "interview" the respect it deserves, it seems somewhat draconian in our "enlightened" times to discriminate on the basis of tattooing, especially because it's such an ancient (art) form of body decoration.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 05:50 PM
I'm sure this is a world wide phenomenon! I've got South African buddies living in many countries abroad, and if they had not had a partner of sorts, they would be....well, you know

There's no ways they could cope on their own financially. I'm fortunate that I'm able to do so here in Canada, but it's not easy - hard work

In fact, I know of friends who are basically only with a partner purely for financial reasons - and not the right ones per se. Sad isn't it

I too have people I work with getting paid MUCH higher salaries purely because of their age and how long they've been with the company. A colleague who was recently retrenched, in her 30's, is still staying at home with her parents, yet she has all the responsibilities as the older people who she now works with - Messed up!

I read an article a while back where they said that the average Canadian's salary in the past 10 years has increased by $48 (if I recall correctly) in a year - in other words, people 10 years ago had much more buying power and disposable income than we do today. I'll see if I can find the article.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 05:53 PM
reply to post by kosmicjack

one word:

illegal aliens..


2 words

+ all the others that expose the rotten traitorous enablers and planners behind the scenes in the elitist-corporatist-putocratic CFR/ trilateral commission/ rockefeller cabal that casued this fiasco in the first place.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 05:55 PM
reply to post by livinginacardboardbox

and i think "casued" is really orwellian for "caused"

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 05:55 PM
I'm 19 and I can't find a job. I wonder if I will ever be able to live comfortably on my own.

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 06:13 PM
Most of us are living this reality. The idea that the CEO's have no responsability is a laugh. Of course they do. They follow the cost reduction model blindly. Standards of living (except theirs of course) be damned! And of course rarely will this reflect itself on the actual price of the goods, not unless quality goes out the window too, and even then.

It's just full blown corporate greed meeting an educational system run by egotistical morons that don't care and aren't smart enough to do anything if they did. Educating people, over way too long a time I might add and at ridiculous cost, for a corporate world that basically is giving them the finger.

But I'm not pessimistic. This is like a spring being pushed down. When this generation, over the next few years, starts taking the reigns of society (because the older morons won't live for ever you know...) things are going to change, the sheer accumulated energy of repression ensures it. It's going to hurt but society will be reconfigured. What I feel more worried about is the next generation, the ones being chemically blitzkrieged as the NWO elite fights to push us into feudalism. Those guys will have issues. But maybe we can fix things for them somewhat. We have had more economic repression than our boomer fathers, but we also have more possibilities. Remember that we are the children of the information age. We know we're being screwed and we know who is screwing us.

And every now and then I look into a childs eye as I cross them on the street, and see that it's still there, the human spirit.

The psychopaths don't stand a chance

posted on Sep, 3 2009 @ 06:17 PM
reply to post by Donnie Darko

i feel you, i am 18 got made redundent from a engineering company but due to more experienced people losing their jobs us young guns are left behind.

I'll do anything work wise if i am given the chance i'll do it the best i can. its the way i am.

plus apprentiships are rare and more experienced people are willing to take wage cuts to get a job so they'll go back to apprentiship wage.

anyway dont give up on us young ones
we control your future remember that.

[edit on 3-9-2009 by thecrow001]

top topics

<<   2  3  4 >>

log in