Recent statistics show that American youth might be feeling the worst of this the nation’s employment problems. In 2012, more than 1 in 3 of the nation's young adults ages 18 to 31- the so-called Millennial Generation -were living in their parents' homes, according to a Pew Research Center study.
“The youth unemployment tends to be harder in part because younger people tend to change jobs quicker than older people,” explained Richard Measell, an assistant professor of economics at St. Mary's College. “And so they're more in and out of the job market, more rotation from job to job. It might be harder for them to find jobs because they lack the work experience and the skills.”
Skills that are hard to get -- without already having skills.
“You want to get experience but that job requires experience, and it's not possible,” explained St. Mary’s College senior Carolina Tapia. “It’s discouraging for me being almost out of college and not being able to find anything because they look for experience and that is something we don't have as of right now. You want to get experience but that job requires experience, and it's not possible.”
“Again the dilemma is how you get those skills,” Measell said. “College students who can afford to work for nothing -- sadly not everyone has the opportunity to say okay can I get an unpaid internship.”
Measell said it’s a real paradox that you should have a college education to do better in the economy.
“You go into a lot of debt and you get a job that a high school graduate or less than a high school graduate might do,” Measell said. And college grads taking jobs that they are overqualified for often means they are displacing high school grads.
“From 2010 to 2020, the number of people that will be college graduates will more than double the number of new jobs open for college graduates over that same time,” he said. “So there's going to be 10 million more college graduates who are going to be thinking ‘hmmm... i went to college to do this?’”
But Measell wasn’t all doom and gloom. While jobs are harder to come by, he pointed out that the earnings gap between college and less than college educated job seekers can be as high as 90 percent -- so there is still a return to be had on that investment.
“You just have to work as hard as you can and try to stand out to employers,” he said.