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Millennials Face Toughest Economy Since Great Depression

Source | LinkedIn : By Justin Chormicle

The New York City Comptroller’s Office recently released a report outlining the challenging economic conditions that the millennial generation is currently facing. Beginning with a bold and fairly shocking headline, – “Millennials have faced the toughest economy since the Great Depression” – the report dives into heavy data explaining how the lack of high-paying jobs, decline in wages, and increasing debt are severely hurting millennials when it comes to achieving the lifestyles and financial stability that previous generations experienced.

Millennials have entered the workforce during the greatest economic downturn in almost a century and, according to recent trends, it appears the national average income of this generation will remain far behind that of prior generations. Throughout the report, it is highlighted that millennials have been placed at a severe economic disadvantage, earning an average of 20 percent less than Gen X. Due to various economic factors and many financial limitations, generational inequality has developed and income disparity has set in.

Although this study was primarily conducted on millennials living in New York, it is not too farfetched to believe that many of these economic trends are occurring across the United States. Below are some of the key findings that the Comptroller’s Office discovered during their research.

A vast majority of millennials entered the labor force at some point in the recession. Without regards to the specific recession stages that individuals started working in, income deterioration has affected all ages. Millennials age 23 in 2014 earned over $4,000 less compared to millennials that were the same age in 2000. And this pay inequality has continued to grow as ages increase.

The decline in wages and the decline in jobs are two contributing factors for the overall decrease in incomes. Nationwide, the number of high-paying jobs has become difficult to find due to steady drops in pay, and, in some cases, particular industries have even cut back on the number of job offerings. For example, the hospitality/food service and retail industries produced 91,000 new jobs but real wages in both sectors fell by 16 percent between 2000 to 2014. During this same time period, the arts and entertainment sector added 16,000 jobs intended for younger people, while the average income for those jobs fell by 26 percent within that same 14-year span. In contrast, real wages for high-paying finance jobs increased by 14 percent; however, there are approximately 11,000 fewer jobs in this industry compared to the pre-recession number. Drawing a conclusion for these results, it appears that an increase in new jobs for any particular industry results in lower pay, and as pay for a particular industry rises, the amount of positions available substantially declines.

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