However, there are a lot of misconceptions still out there about this issue, including and especially regarding college graduate employment figures. As one commenter responded to bondad:
College Grads Can't Find Jobs? Can that be right? The BLS tables show that the unemployment rate for college graduates currently is 2.1%...Unfortunately for many college graduates, it seems that the reading and writing standard English and speaking clearly requirements present insurmountable hurdles.
Unfortunately, there are many people (especially boomers) who carry this prejudice, and I feel it needs to be addressed.
Look around next time you are at the mall. A lot of recent grads are working at low-skill, low-paying jobs (think Pottery Barn or The Gap) while they live at home. These jobs can't cover rent, health insurance and loan payments, but living with parents or lots of roommates makes living off these jobs possible, and boosts the employment numbers.
It used to be that when you graduated you got married and had a family. The only friend I know who has followed that path is married to a man in the military, which provides housing allowances, health insurance and a reduced cost of living through services like the PX and RX. This is not uncommon: one of the biggest challenges facing the armed forces today is the percentage of members with family. The military used to be made up of single service members. That has changed and it demands additional infrastructure and has produced intense institutional change as the military has had to grapple with issues such as domestic violence, the increased burden of deployments, dependent care and retention rates.
I graduated from college about three years ago. My boyfriend describes the difference between my generation and previous generations as the frog in the boiling pot. While the previous generation has felt the water getting hotter with reduced pensions, high turnover at companies, outsourcing, layoffs, stagnant wages, rising health care costs for those lucky enough to even be offered insurance, the necessity of a two-income household, high housing costs and longer and longer hours, my generation is entering straight into this modern work place culture.
And we see it for the raw deal that it is. While boomers may be near enough to retirement to try and stick it out, we see a system that is broken now and only getting worse. We see the gap between the rich and the poor getting wider and wider and understand the necessity of struggling to stay ahead of the curve so we don't fall into the precipice.
Hence the number of college grads rushing back to graduate school (and yet more debt) and the recent grad's penchant for moving home with mom and dad, working a relatively unchallenging retail job for less than 40 hours a week, thank you very much, that affords them the time and a little bit of money to party with their friends and enjoy life.
They are delaying adulthood because society and the job market aren't able to provide them the start they need and they balk at the high cost of the bum deal they are getting.
My generation knows that despite how hard we work, or how many hours we work to 'get ahead,' we will never be on firm footing. The notion of sacrificing now for a more secure future does not exist. We see the writing on the wall; we live in an American economy where we are only one lay-off, outsourcing, restructuring away from starting all over again. We live in an economy that is so distorted it can no longer reward hard work.
If boomers didn't trust anyone over 30, my generation doesn't trust the economy.
We know no one is looking out for us. Boomers have been horrible financial role models. Most of our parents didn't save enough for retirement and that generation's fiscal legacy will include record deficits, negative savings rates and reverse mortgages. Boomers demanded (and passed) tax cuts during wartime! We aren't stupid; we know having your cake and eating it too won't leave enough for the rest of us.
Fundamental notions of American working life have been challenged, trashed and toppled. Yet they remain politically unanswered--Because boomers think they can tough it out to the finish line and my generation thinks the race is fixed anyway.
In this week's Newsweek, an interview with Tamara Draut, author of Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30- Somethings Can't Get Ahead asked "What is your advice for young adults who want to do better financially?"
Her response? "The best financial advice I can give is for this generation to awake from its political slumber."
And it is going to have to happen or this country is in some serious trouble. When upper and middle management finally does retire (later and later these days), American industry is going to look down the ladder and they are not going to like what they see; a reduced pool of experienced workers. When the jobs do finally open up, there isn't going to be anyone with the experience or the willingness to fill them.
Which is why despite my generation's failure to enter politics, we need to find a solution to the boiling pot roiling America's workers. Because it's officially hot, whether you're sitting in it or just getting in for the first time.