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Lack of Jobs Puts Young Workers' Lives on Hold

Millennials unemployment for November 2012 was several percentage points above the national average . / Credit: Millennials waiting for jobs image via Shutterstock

The November jobs report just issued by the U.S. Department of Labor is the first since the 2012 presidential election, and  it doesn't hold good news about job prospects for millennials ages 18-29 (Generation Y), a nonpartisan organization advocating for them says. Their unemployment for November 2012 was 10.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted), still several percentage points above the national average for all unemployed adults, with little in the way of a promise for a quick fix.

But that figure doesn't accurately reflect the true unemployment picture for millennials, the advocacy group Generation Opportunity said. The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.7 million young adults that are not counted as "unemployed" by the Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.

If the labor force participation rate were factored into the 18-29 unemployment calculations, the actual millennials unemployment rate would rise to 16.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted), the group said.

These dismal job prospects are having a profound effect on this generation, Generation Opportunity said. According to a recent poll the group commissioned, 89 percent of young people ages 18-29 say the current state of the economy is impacting their day-to-day lives.

 For example, 43 percent of the Gen Y cohort has reduced their grocery/food budgets and 26 percent changed their living situation. In addition, 84 percent had planned to make a major life change but now might delay it or not make it at all, with 38 percent of millennials choosing not to buy their own place, 31 percent choosing not starting to a family, and 26 percent not paying off student loans or other debt

Millennials held out great expectations for officials who were elected in November, even though their growing frustration with the lack of opportunities was reflected in their less enthusiastic support for the incumbent, said Generation Opportunity. According to a national exit poll published by The New York Times, President Barack Obama's margin of support among Gen Y dropped 11 percentage points from 2008 levels.

They're also still waiting for jobs to materialize.

"Today's unemployment picture for millennials offers little in the way of promise for a generation in which genuine opportunities continue to be few and far between," said Matthew Faraci, senior vice president for Communications at Generation Opportunity. "Millennials have high expectations of those who were elected in November and are eager for the kind of real job growth that would finally, after years of stagnation, afford them a chance to put their substantial skills to work."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.