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Unemployment Trends - Concerns of the Young Adult and the Older Aged Population

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Unemployment Trends:

Concerns of the Young Adult and the Older Aged Population

Historically speaking, the goal of our society has always been the seeking of full employment for those who are able and willing to work. In an ideal world this would be a logical concept; but we do not live in an ideal world. Factors, such as inflation, recession, and unforeseen disasters, such as hurricane Katrina are causes of full employment decreasing and unemployment increasing. When the tides in our economy cause unemployment rates to increase what effect does this have with the youth and the older aged population in our society? Common sense tells you that unemployment affects many agents of society, from family to educational institutions, nevertheless there is certain population groups that are hit hard especially where income is concerned.

According to Don Peck, in his article, "How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America", the broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment reached 17.4 percent in October 2009, and for large portions of society, such as young adults and teenagers that figure was much higher, standing at roughly 27 percent (Peck, D., 2010). This same trend of high unemployment rates is also evident in the older aged population group.

An analysis conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2009 says that in December of 2008 adults aged 65 or older were unemployed 60 percent more than in November 2007. Further studies by the BLS showed that the unemployment rate for the total labor force in December 2008 was 7.2 percent, while the unemployment rate for persons aged 55 and older was 4.8 percent (Aging and Work, 2009). These figures represent the high unemployment rate for both population groups when compared to the unemployment rate for the total labor force. The statistics of the BLS further evidences the high unemployment rate for younger adults and older aged persons by comparing them to the rates for other age groups. For example, according to the BLS data in June 2009 workers with less job experience; typically those aged 16-24, face an unemployment rate of 17.8 percent; while those 25-54 years old face an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent (Aging and Work, 2009). These numbers are only an approximate calculation of the unemployment rate amongst younger adults and older aged individuals. Because unemployment is calculated by the number of individuals who have worked and lost their job for any number of reasons, ranging from being laid off to being a victim of downsizing, and the number of individuals who are actively seeking employment the exact number cannot be truly estimated. There are many employable individuals who want full time work but have stopped actively seeking employment or are working part time and not earning what they previously earned. This makes the actual number of unemployed younger and older adults higher than the observed statistics presented.

During times of economic struggles and high unemployment younger adults and older teenagers are the population groups that suffer the downside of the times.

Peter Coy of Business Week says that as unemployment is ravaging nearly every part of the global workforce, the ones who are suffering the most are the young people who are finding it hard to grab onto the first rung of the career ladder (Coy, P., 2009). Those affected, according to Coy, are high school dropouts, college grads, newly minted lawyers, and MBA's, all young people aged 16 to 24 years (2009).

Younger aged people who have had the opportunity to attend college and graduate are ready and eager to start a career; nevertheless, many of them are left disillusioned and disappointed. Peter Coy states,

For people just starting their careers, the damage may be deep and long-lasting, potentially creating a kind of "lost generation." Studies suggest that an extended period of youthful joblessness can significantly depress lifetime income as people get stuck in jobs that are beneath their capabilities, or come to be seen by employers as damaged goods. Equally important, employers are likely to suffer from the scarring of a generation. The freshness and vitality young people bring to the workplace is missing. Tomorrows would be star employees are on the sidelines, deprived of experience and losing motivation (2009).

When the youth of our society cannot forge ahead because of lack of jobs and unemployment, we, as a society, are facing a losing battle just as they are. We are denying them the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and goals. We, as a society, are robbing ourselves of our future leaders, and our future economy builders. Young workers in the United States are facing multiple difficulties maintaining employment. They are unable to secure employment because older adults who have not been the victims of the high unemployment rate are continuing to work. Stock market difficulties during the recession wiped out their retirement savings so they must work beyond the retirement age to make up for their losses.

Those young adults who may be fortunate enough to be employed are often working part-time or working odd jobs here and there. This negates them from receiving and type of employment benefits such as paid vacations, personal days, and health insurance. If they become unemployed while working part time or for temporary services they are not eligible for unemployment benefits because they have not worked long enough to earn the minimum amount of money needed to be eligible for unemployment compensation. In addition, young workers are being forced to work in low skill jobs, which pay low wages, in order to be employed. At the same time, companies are establishing policies which encourage older workers to remain employed longer. This takes away from the young adults being able to obtain employment that generates pay worthy of their capabilities. These young adults cannot afford to wait for a position more suited to their education, training, or experience. Another problem that the young worker faces is having little or no financial security to pursue a higher education if they are not already college graduates. From a standpoint of economic recovery, the process is too slow to make a positive impact on the young workers. Robust growth in the labor market is necessary to minimize the devastation on young adults in the United States. Lower earnings, lower output, lower productivity and displaced less educated workers drain the labor market potential, thus denying young workers the opportunity to develop



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