You have undoubtedly talked to friends looking for work. The typical response includes discouraging phrases about businesses not hiring or companies not wanting to take on inexperienced workers. While major newspapers and television stations focus on the nine percent unemployment rate for the entire workforce, the 18-25 year olds in this country with unemployment rate of 25% has gone largely unnoticed.
The unemployment and under employment of the youth workforce is going to have many profound impacts. Our age group is falling behind in regards to experience, which will negatively impact our future earnings. Recent graduates are struggling to meet student loan payments and the burden of debt hoisted upon them for an education continues to grow. Less obviously, couples hoping to start families, own their own home, and become a part of the traditional fabric of American culture are putting these plans on hold until their employment situation changes.
Joblessness for 18-25 year olds is becoming a crisis. Some might still label the youth by their apathy but this trend will not continue if their need to work is not met. Joblessness equals restlessness. As their contempt for an economy that is not able to meet their needs grows the young will make their voices heard.
It’s interesting that amongst our generation the tunnel vision focus on profits, expensive automobiles, and mansions is not as strong as our parents. A large section of the youth want to do work that would allow them to be creative or of service to their community. But where will these jobs come from?
When the unemployment rate during the Great Depression was 25% for the entire country, the government decided that inaction was no longer an option. Government would cease being a do nothing institution but would step in to help people looking for work.
Our generation doesn’t want welfare. We want jobs.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was the largest New Deal project. The government used the WPA to pay citizens to carry out public works projects. They worked on infrastructure with roads and highways; they built the Griffith Observatory, and paid women to make blankets for the cold and poor.
A modern day youth WPA is what is needed. This youth works administration would do infrastructure repairs but would also focus on beautifying our cities with murals and other ideas drawn from one of the most creative generations. We could put the youth to work doing jobs to increase the living standards for certain groups of our nation.
But this article is late. A new Congress has been elected that vows to stop spending. Our unemployed generation, filled with vitality, willingness to sacrifice, and ingenuity will now be governed by modern day Herbert Hoover’s. Although a nice thing about our democracy is the next election is already only two years away. The party that cares about America and the country’s youth will have to offer a plan to get our generation to work.