Young Americans continue to suffer through the slowed economy. A new poll released by Gallup shows that only 43.6 percent of workers aged 18 to 29 had a full-time job in June. That number was 47 percent during the same time last year.
Although college graduates are twice as likely to hold a full-time position than those without a college degree, the lack of jobs is sweeping. Fewer young college graduates have a full-time job than they did three years ago, the same for those who don’t have a degree.
Gallup theorizes that the availability of full-time jobs hasn’t been able to keep up with overall population growth. This puts young Americans at a disadvantage as they lack the ability to obtain training and experience. Older Americans who have more experience are being hired at a higher rate for the dwindling full-time positions.
Though college degrees are still considered a good investment with foreseeable returns, such as a higher salary, many students are finding themselves in jobs they don’t want after graduation. The jobs pay low wages and generally aren’t in a person’s field of study. Because of this, paying back the more than $1 trillion in student debt has become problematic. Some schools are producing more students who default on their loans than graduates while a majority of borrowers worry about paying back their loans.
Students have few options of where to spend their low wages in the sluggish economy. Their precious dollars are tied up in paying back their debt rather than going into sectors that would help stimulate the economy, such as buying houses or cars. But the costs of young Americans’ unemployment and underemployment are only beginning. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, unemployment among young people will end up costing $20 billion over a decade.
Progressive politicians are working to solve the problem either by eliminating student debt via savings programs or by proposing minimum wage increases that would put more savings into young Americans’ pockets, thereby stimulating the economy.
Kirsten Gibson is an intern for ThinkProgress.