Young Americans are more concerned about job opportunities than with lower student loan interest rates or staying on their parents' health insurance longer, and most of them plan to vote.
Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on mobilizing the young on economic issues, polled more than 1,000 people ages 18 to 29 this summer and released the results this month. The numbers show that only 38% of Generation Y believes that today's political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans.
Sixty-four percent of those surveyed say the availability of quality, full-time jobs upon graduation is more important than lower rates on student loans; 61% say employment outranks the ability to stay on parents’ health insurance plans until age 26.
“Young adults are sending a very clear message to the President and other elected officials – we want opportunities, not more dependency,” says Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and a former chief of staff at the Department of Labor. “Young people know the root issue is the lack of real job opportunities, not further dependence on government, so that they are better able to provide for themselves, pay back loans, and choose the health care plans that best suit their individual needs.”
In July, the unemployment rate for Millennials was 12.7%. For blacks and Hispanics, the numbers are 22.3% and 14%, respectively Factoring in those who have currently given up looking for work, not included in the DOL’s labor force participation rate, and the unemployment rate for those 18 to 29 rises to 16.7%.
“This generation is very savvy – they are used to customizing everything from their coffees to their iPhones and do not appreciate the lack of choice in the most significant issues they face: planning for their future and building a career,” Conway says. “The more politicians avoid discussing details on how they will get government out of the way of full-time job creation and reverse record high youth unemployment, the more politicians are viewed as either disingenuous or completely out of touch with the day-to-day concerns of young Americans.”
Some 84% of Millennials say they had planned a major life change that they now might delay or not make all due to their personal finances or the economy at large. These endangered plans include buying their own place (38%), getting more education/job training (32%), starting a family (31%), paying off loans and debt (26%) and changing jobs/location (27%).
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