Hoping for change? The evidence now indicates that youth unemployment in America has now surpassed Europe and other developed countries, marking a stark turnaround from previous trends. The United States has become a land of diminishing opportunity for the young.
For all of Europe’s troubles — a left-right combination of sclerotic labor markets and austerity — the United States has quietly surpassed much of Europe in the percentage of young adults without jobs. It’s not just Europe, either. Over the last 12 years, the United States has gone from having the highest share of employed 25- to 34-year-olds among large, wealthy economies to having among the lowest.
Bailing out Wall Street – a sector of the economy that employs few and steals from many – has not surprisingly led to a weak recovery light on jobs.
Employers are particularly reluctant to add new workers — and have been for much of the last 12 years. Layoffs have been subdued, with the exception of the worst months of the financial crisis, but so has the creation of jobs, and no one depends on new jobs as much as younger workers do. For them, the Great Recession grinds on.
In Congress youth unemployment is of no urgency especially when compared to paying off debt accumulated by tax cuts for the rich, corporate welfare, and wars of aggression. Ironically paying off the debts rung up by and for the 1% is sold by Republicans and Corporate Democrats as somehow being in the interest of the young people being crushed by austerity.
Meanwhile at the White House the president who ran on protecting social insurance is trying to cut Social Security and Medicare in some demented attempt at a Grand Bargain while doing absolutely nothing for the young people whose votes he won in 2008 and 2012 on promises of creating opportunities and rekindling the American Dream.
Time to wake up young people, not that you have a job to go to or anything.
Photo by White House under Public Domain