Though the number of unemployed youth has inched down to below prerecession rates, many other indicators suggest that the employment situation for American youth is not so rosy. Though they’re the most educated compared with previous generations, 1 in 5 American adults ages 18 through 34 has student loan debt. Furthermore, many of these folks are defaulting—and across race and ethnicity lines, black or African American and Hispanic or Latino people are disproportionately more likely to default on their loans. Though more youth are educated and pursuing higher education, giving them a leg up in the labor market, the cost of education has skyrocketed: Textbooks, for example, are about 90 times more expensive than they were in 2006.
Millennials, who today are 18 to 34 years old, make 43 percent less than what Gen Xers made in 1995—when they were under 35 years old—suggesting that labor market conditions still have some slack, despite low unemployment and gross domestic product growth. For those who aren’t college-educated, the situation worsens. According to a Pew Research Center study, the earnings disparity is rising among young adults based on their level of educational attainment—specifically, between high school graduates who attend institutions of higher education and those who do not. The study finds that noncollege-educated high school graduates make less than they have in the past: This age group today makes about 15 percent less than early Baby Boomers made. It also finds that the poverty rate for high school graduates was more than three times the rate for those with a bachelor’s degree.
Click here to read the full analysis from the Center for American Progress.