Last summer, I found it virtually impossible to have a conversation without the topic of unemployment coming up. The New York Times ran the monster sized, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” and The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson responded with “What’s Really the Matter With 20-Somethings.” At the time, most of my friends were underemployed, interning for free or watching re-runs of “Reba.” It was relevant.
It’s been almost a year and I’m still a 20-something: not married, no kids and no retirement plan in sight. Most of my friends are still underemployed, interning or in grad school. Lately, I’ve been watching the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics news releases. The latest report, released on June 3, had the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent overall and at 24.2 percent for teenagers. Things could certainly be better. The most worrisome part about the current unemployment rate is the long-term impact on future earnings of recent graduates.
According to a study done at Yale by Lisa Kahn, graduates entering the job market during a recession earn less and that “the labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy are large, negative and persistent.” Trying to find employment and secure your future can definitely feel like gambling these days.
Kahn suggests finding a way to postpone entering the job market for a year or going back to school in order to position yourself more favorably. Many of my friends have gone back to school or are considering it in the near future. As for myself, I took the GRE in February and I’ m looking into graduate programs, trying to figure out things as I go along.
Millennials, what’s your plan?