Economic Crisis Changes the Definition of ‘Adult’

Wednesday, 22 Feb 2012 01:08 PM

By Michelle Smith

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People aged 18 to 29 are referred to as "the millennials" and it appears that the economy is especially unkind to them. The Washington Times reports that joblessness among this group is at the highest levels since the Labor Department began maintaining records of this data.

The national unemployment rate is 8.3 percent. But, for the millennials, the Washington Times reports that the rate is nearly twice that at 15.8 percent.

And, for some subgroups within that age range, the rate is even higher.

As if these levels aren't alarming enough, the Washington Times describes them as the “tip of the iceberg.”

Unemployment only represents the people who are actively trying to find work but can't. Many young Americans have simply given up, so they aren't counted. Others have decided to delay entering the workforce to pursue higher education or to take unpaid positions in hopes that it will pay off in the form of a permanent job. All of these individuals are invisible with regard to the statistics.

High unemployment among the millennials has effects that span beyond a lack of paychecks or little savings.

The Atlantic says this “new economic reality” didn't just postpone financial independence. It has changed our attitudes about what it means to be an adult.

People in this group are putting off major life decisions such as getting married, having babies, and trying to buy homes. Many are finding themselves at home with mommy and daddy for much longer than they expected.

A total of 24 percent of young adults have moved back in with their parents for a significant period of time, the Atlantic reports. Among those ages 25 to 29, the share moving back home rises to 34 percent, Pew Research Center data show.

For older Americans who have tended to fare better through the economic storm, it may seem like the millennials are a generation that has chosen to put life on hold.

But, the Atlantic reports that nobody chose this. The economy chose them.

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

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