Millennial unemployment hits 11.8%

For millennials, the unemployment rate in September hit 11.8 percent, according to Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that mobilizes young Americans regarding economic issues.

Among African-American millennials in September unemployment reached 21 percent while it reached 12.1 percent for Hispanics and 11.6 percent for female millennials, Generation Opportunity finds. Because of the declining labor force participation rate, there are now 1.7 million millennials who are not considered unemployed by the U.S. Department of Labor. This suggests that those millennials are not looking for work because of the few available jobs, and if the labor force participation rate were calculated, millennial unemployment would jump to 16.6 percent.

"These numbers tell a devastating story – a story we cannot afford to ignore or hope away,” says Generation Opportunity President Paul T. Conway, former Chief of Staff of the United States Department of Labor and former Chief of Staff of the United States Office of Personnel Management. “The risk is far too high as the promise of America is slipping past an entire generation. As fellow citizens, we have an obligation to act, to create opportunity and to offer real hope and independence to young Americans. What adds to the gravity of today's report is the current administration's casual dismissal of the facts and their stubborn insistence on moving forward with the same policies of the last three-and-a-half years regardless of the consequences.

"Young Americans know this is not fair, and they are asking why the White House continues to push policies that are moving them backward. They want solutions, not slogans, not excuses, not empty promises. As young Americans watch the candidates lay out their plans and prepare to vote this November, they are making up their minds based on issues and who lays out the best plan for the economy to create jobs and allow the growth of opportunity, so they can fulfill their hopes and dreams for the future. As the election nears, we continue to encourage all young Americans not yet registered to vote to register now while they still have time."

Generation Opportunity also finds in a recent poll that 76 percent of Millennials plan to vote in the presidential election. Another 29 percent of respondents say Washington’s economic policies are helping them while 47 percent of respondents believe the policies are hurtful.

Among the respondents, 38 percent believe political leaders represent young Americans’ interests, and 76 percent say the middle class is reducing because of fewer job opportunities. Sixty-four percent of respondents say the availability of high-quality full-time jobs upon graduation trumps lower student loan interest rates regarding importance while 61 percent of respondents say the availability of more high-quality full-time jobs with health insurance plans ranks above the ability to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until they are 26 in importance.


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