Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Robbing the children of their futures

The tragedy of all this youth unemployment is that there is so MUCH necessary work that needs doing.  It's bad enough that we do nothing about peak oil and climate change.  It is so much worse that the people who should have good jobs fixing these problems are sitting in their parent's basements wondering when the recession is going to be over so they can get on with their lives.  That the kids haven't been reduced to roving violent gangs is mostly a tribute to the optimism and ignorance of youth (of course, if you include such things as soccer hooliganism, this has already happened).

European youth hit hardest by joblessness

Europe’s young people have been hit hard by the economic crisis. They have the highest unemployment rates compared to the overall population. The fear is that things are not going to change for at least another year.

About a month ago, Yoana Georgieva finished a paid internship with the European Commission in Brussels. She's now unemployed and looking for a job. Although she has a few months of real work experience in addition to her internship, things are still difficult on the job market.
"Beginner positions are either not well paid or they're already looking for someone with experience," she told DW.

Her story is not unique. On average, 22 percent of young people in the European Union are out of work. Spain has the worst situation, with almost 50 percent unemployment amongst the younger generation. Across the EU, youth joblessness is about twice as high as overall unemployment.

The internship is the new graduate job

While there may not be many jobs, internships abound in most European nations.

"Among my friends, there are so many people who have done four or five internships," said a 24-year-old trainee at the European Parliament in Brussels, who preferred not to give her name. "They have years of experience. And then when they actually apply for a job, the internships are not counted as work experience in many cases."

Young people and experts generally agree that internships are increasingly replacing entry-level jobs. The main reason for this trend is clear: It saves businesses huge amounts of money in wage costs. more

A Guide To The Horrible Youth Unemployment Mess In Europe
Mamta Badkar  Feb. 9, 2012

Earlier today, we learned that Greece's unemployment surged to 20.9 percent. However, the youth unemployment rate spiked to 48 percent.

In fact, a colossal 5.493 million youth were unemployed in December, according to latest data from Eurostat. And the EU saw its overall youth unemployment rate at 22.1 percent.

The European crisis has obviously hit the under-25 age group hard, since 3.29 million of these youth are in the euro area. 
We drew on the latest data from Eurostat to give a sense of Europe's massive unemployment problem. 16 countries on this list have a youth unemployment rate higher than the EU 27-country average. more

Most Americans Agree: Young People Today Are Getting Screwed
Feb. 9, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Squeezed by a tight job market, young Americans are especially struggling. They have suffered bigger income losses than other age groups and are less likely to be employed than at any time since World War II.

An analysis by the Pew Research Center, released Thursday, details the impact of the recent recession on the attitudes of a generation of mostly 20- and 30-somethings.

With government data showing record gaps in employment between young and old, a Pew survey found that 41 percent of Americans believe that younger adults have been hit harder than any other group, compared with 29 percent who say middle-aged Americans and 24 percent who point to seniors 65 and older. A wide majority of the public — at least 69 percent — also said it's more difficult for today's young adults than their parents' generation to pay for college, find a job, buy a home or save for the future.

Among young adults ages 18 to 34, only a third rated their financial situation as "excellent" or "good," compared with 54 percent for seniors age 65 and over. In 2004, before the recession began, about half of both young and older adults rated their own financial situation highly.

"Young workers are on the bottom of the ladder, and during a recession like we've had, it's often hard for them to hold on," said Kim Parker, associate director of Pew's Social & Demographic Trends project. She noted that some have been heavily involved in the nationwide "Occupy" protests over economic disparity.

"They are clearly less satisfied with their current circumstances than they were before the recession," she said. "This may be where some of the anger and frustration being expressed in the Occupy movement is rooted." more

Employment Rate For Young Adults Lowest In 60 Years, Study Says
02/ 9/2012

Are you young and looking for work? You're in good company.

Just 54 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 currently have jobs, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. That's the lowest employment rate for this age group since the government began keeping track in 1948. And it's a sharp drop from the 62 percent who had jobs in 2007 -- suggesting the recession is crippling career prospects for a broad swath of young people who were still in high school or college when the downturn began.

"They had the misfortune to be born at a time that would dump them into this labor market as young people," said Heidi Shierholz, a labor market economist at the Economic Policy Institute. "If we stay on the track that we're on, this cohort is not going to outpace their parents."

The Pew study arrives just days after the Labor Department's monthly jobs report, which showed the national unemployment rate trending down for a fifth straight month -- a change that many took as a sign that the economy is finally beginning to right itself. Yet joblessness is still high, and financial security remains out of reach for millions more people than just a few years ago.

Young adults were largely spared the collapse in wealth that many older Americans went through when the housing market imploded. Still, in some ways they have it the worst of any demographic. Besides the historically low employment rate for people in their late-teens and early-20s -- which is, incidentally, about 15 percentage points below the general employment rate for working-age adults, according to Pew -- the recession has eroded young workers' paychecks to a far greater degree than any other age group. more
It's not bad enough that there are so few jobs, the situation had been made even worse because we have allowed, encouraged, and tricked our kids into taking on obscene amounts of debt.
Student Loans Could Be America's Next 'Debt Bomb,' Report Finds

Jillian Berman  02/ 8/2012

Growing numbers of Americans are finding themselves bankrupt, with their college diplomas partially to blame.

Slightly more than 80 percent of bankruptcy attorneys say the number of their potential clients with student loan debt have increased "significantly" or "somewhat" in the past three to four years, according to a survey by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. And there's little hope those debtors will get out of their obligations; 95 percent of bankruptcy attorneys surveyed said that very few student loan debtors will be discharged from their loan as a result of undue hardship.

"Take it from those of us on the frontline of economic distress in America: This could very well be the next debt bomb for the U.S. economy," William E. Brewer, Jr., president of the NACBA said in a statement accompanying the survey.

As college costs spiral out of control and public universities cut back on financial aid, more students and their parents are taking on loans to pay tuition, according to the Los Angeles Times. At about one trillion dollars, Americans' student loan debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time in history in August 2010.

With so many college graduates burdened with so much debt, the potential for bankruptcies is huge.Nearly 25 percent of bankruptcy attorneys said they've seen potential student loan client cases surge by 50 to more than 100 percent, according to the NACBA survey. That despite the number of Americans that filed for bankruptcy overall falling last year, according to The New York Times.

Americans that graduated college with loans in 2010 owe an average of about $25,000 -- a five percent boost from the year before, according to The Project on Student Debt. In addition, because they faced an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent upon graduation they're at a disadvantage when it comes to paying back the loans. more

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