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Youth Unemployment Problem Hits Historical Proportions

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Dude, this economic downturn is no joke!

Young college students are looking ahead to graduation day and they’re not appreciating the outlook: a New Normal of tepid growth and persistently high unemployment.

It’s hard to blame these kids for feeling the pressure: According to Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg, what we have now in this country of ours is a youth unemployment problem of historical proportion.

As the strategist points out, only 45.4% of people between the age of 16 and 24 were employed last month, near record lows since the data began in 1948. Consider that a decade ago, at the height of the tech boom, the ratio stood at 60% for that cohort.

Economist Mark Steckbeck, writing on The Liberal Order blog, cites two articles highlighting how the Great Recession has spooked college freshmen from coast to coast.

For one, these newbies on campus, in between finding the fastest routes to the cafeteria and fraternity row, are now pounding on the career center’s front door with increasing frequency.

The AP notes: “Once considered the place for panicked seniors to look for jobs ahead of graduation, college career offices are reporting dramatic hikes in use by first-year students looking for the earliest possible jump on the employment market.”

If they do get lucky, and score a paycheck, younger Americans are also deciding to adjust their attitudes. The boss man now wants them working this weekend? No problem!

“Stunned by a barrage of pink slips instead of promotions, Generation Y -- people 18 to 29 -- has swallowed a piece of humble pie,” notes a report at “Those who still have jobs are adopting new attitudes and making themselves more valuable.”

“They still want a chance at career development, but they are no longer demanding that it happen on the fast track.” (Hat tip: Newmark’s Door.)
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