Should young Americans feel confident about their economic prospects?

Wages of Young Americans (Source: The Atlantic)
Wages of Young Americans (Source: The Atlantic)

Graph: Young People’s Wages Have Fallen Across Industries Between 2007 and 2013.

Young Americans are taking longer to graduate and graduating with more debt, but that’s not all – they aren’t find jobs, and the jobs they do find typically don’t allow them to pay back their loans.

Here’s an article from The Atlantic, which leans left.

Excerpt:

American families are grappling with stagnant wage growth, as the costs of health care, education, and housing continue to climb. But for many of America’s younger workers, “stagnant” wages shouldn’t sound so bad. In fact, they might sound like a massive raise.

Since the Great Recession struck in 2007, the median wage for people between the ages of 25 and 34, adjusted for inflation, has fallen in every major industry except for health care.

These numbers come from an analysis of the Census Current Population Surveyby Konrad Mugglestone, an economist with Young Invincibles.

In retail, wholesale, leisure, and hospitality—which together employ more than one quarter of this age group—real wages have fallen more than 10 percent since 2007. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that most of this cohort are seeing their pay slashed, year after year. Instead it suggests that wage growth is failing to keep up with inflation, and that, as twentysomethings pass into their thirties, they are earning less than their older peers did before the recession.

The picture isn’t much better for the youngest group of workers between 18 and 24. Besides health care, the industries employing the vast majority of part-time students and recent graduates are also watching wages fall behind inflation. (40 percent of this group is enrolled in college.)

It’s not just that – the Democrats are doing a pretty good job of wrecking other parts of the economy, from energy development to health care to entitlement programs to college tuition, which rises higher as government throws more money into the system. They are doing everything they can to wreck the economy with higher taxes and burdensome regulations.

As a result of our headlong rush towards socialism, the U.S. economy has now fallen to number 2 in the worldbehind China.

Look:

We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.

It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.

The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.

As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade.

So things are bad for young people, and it’s going to get worse.

It’s important to check what major you are studying to make sure you get a return on your investment, and don’t be scared to study something you hate if it means that you can make your career work. Your education and career choices are not about fulfillment and thrills. You have to make hard choices in order to make ends meet so that you have freedom to do the things you ought to do, especially if you want to get married and start a family. Those marriage and family plans start the day you step into high school, in my opinion.

UPDATE: 17.7% Teen Unemployment in America – Still Above Rate of 6 Years Ago and Labor Force Participation Remains at 36-Year Low.

5 thoughts on “Should young Americans feel confident about their economic prospects?”

  1. “and don’t be scared to study something you hate if it means that you can make your career work. Your education and career choices are not about fulfillment and thrills.”

    I’m intrigued by this comment. Can you expound upon it a bit more? It seems to go against everything that the broader culture, even Evangelical culture, tells young people

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    1. Yes.

      Basically, money is a tool that can be used to fund efforts to do almost everything that matters in this world. From one-on-one mentoring, to expressing love to a wife/girlfriend, to education in apologetics, to political activity to charitable donations – money matters. In particular, men have a Biblical obligation to care for their families or they “have denied the faith”. Stewardship and charity are celebrated in Phil 4 as having an eternal impact.

      And there are objective criteria on how much money you earn. It is objectively true that people in intellectually-demanding STEM fields generally earn more than people in less-intellectually-demanding non-STEM fields. STEM degrees are in demand because people with STEM skills are rarer and it has more value to an employer. So from a purely virtue-centric point of view, if you want to maximize your value to your fellow man in a free-market system, you should study things that allow you to increase your productivity, even if it is harder and less “fun” for you.

      I actually cried when I was learning hard things like calculus. Computer science and engineering degrees are soul-destroying grinds. But if you want to express yourself to others and impact the world, you need to get hold of money and serve others with higher productivity. You want to produce value, and you want to have money to spend on targets of opportunity with respect to your Christian convictions. For example, this week, I sent $500 to a friend of mine who finished a STEM graduate degree. He is pro-ID and he needs the support. If you have the money, you can do that. And it matters that we fund the next generation of Christian scholars.

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