December millennial unemployment rate, 11.5 percent, worst since World War II

The December unemployment for 18 to 29-year-olds was reported at 11.5 percent.

That's a sharp increase from November's 10.9 percent millennial unemployment rate, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Millennials are struggling with the worst sustained unemployment since the second World War,” said David Pasch, director of the nonpartisan organization Generation Opportunity. “This is tragic. Almost one in six millennials did not get up and go to work this morning.”

These numbers don’t account for the declining labor force participation rate, as an additional 1.7 million young adults are not counted as unemployed by the Labor Department because they have given up looking for work. This would bring the total youth unemployment rate to 16.3 percent.

Pasch said millennials are struggling to find work because America’s economy is not creating enough jobs for them.

“Young people are hard-working, they are more than qualified, and are eager to contribute and put their skills to work,” he said. “Young people feel stuck in a new status quo and don’t accept that this is the way it has to be. They want Washington to take action to substantively change the situation.”

He said the high unemployment rate doesn’t factor underemployment, either.

A 2012 study from Rutgers University found more than half of recent college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed.

“Those numbers tell us that many of the young people who actually have jobs may only be working part-time, not necessarily in a position commensurate with their skills and education,” Pasch said.

The high unemployment rate is causing college students to worry about the future. Dearborn senior Stephanie Santostasi said the high unemployment rate is an issue she’s always reminded of.

“The unemployment statistics are something I personally think about almost on a daily basis,” she said. “With graduation approaching in three semesters for me, I often worry about getting a job too much. It definitely is something I stress about a lot.”

The high rate of unemployment has even led her to stay in school longer, by adding an additional minor to her double-major as a backup plan.

“I am trying to open up as many options as possible for myself in hopes that I won’t become one of these unemployed statistics,” Santostasi said.

The December 2012 national unemployment rate for all adults in the U.S. workforce stands at 7.8 percent, unchanged from November 2012 but nearly four percentage points lower than the millennial job report.

Pasch said some of this can be blamed on the fact the millennial unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted, whereas the national unemployment rate factors in seasonal hiring trends, such as work over the holidays.

“Seasonal hiring is likely keeping the Millennial number artificially low,” he said. “We expect that this number will go up in January and February of 2013 as the temporary seasonal jobs disappear.”

The overall Michigan jobless rate for November was slightly higher than the national average, coming in at 7.9 percent, down 0.4 percent from October, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget said in its November regional unemployment rate reports.

Although high, the White House Press Office reports that over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate has decreased by 0.7 percent as a result of growing employment, but the labor force participation rate has been virtually unchanged.

Isabella County has the fifth lowest rate in the state, with 5.2 percent unemployment, down from 5.4 percent in October. Washtenaw County, home to the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, has the lowest jobless rate in he state, at 4.3 percent, down from 4.6 percent in October.

Kalamazoo County, home to Western Michigan University, has the 10th lowest unemployment rate at 5.6 percent, down from 5.9 percent in October and Ingham County, home to Michigan State University, has the 14th lowest unemployment rate at 6 percent, down from October’s rate of 6.5 percent.

December 2012 marked the 49th consecutive month with national unemployment above 7 percent.


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