Older generations call us a lot of things including spoiled, lazy, entitled, and narcissistic. They make fun of our willingness to share the details of our lives on social media, our obsession with selfies, and our love for craft beer and mason jars.

Yet, as a new Congressional report shows, they wouldn’t want to be in our shoes because we came of in age during an economic downturn that has retarded our career growth and is delaying us in achieving the milestones they had reached at the same age. Furthermore, even as the economy appears to be improving, Millennials missed the bus and are left behind.

We are left out of the job market. While the national unemployment rate remains at 5.8 percent, millennial unemployment is at nearly 17 percent — five percentage points higher than the pre-recession 12 percent jobless rate for the young.

Our incomes have fallen substantially and not recovered. Household income adjusted for inflation for Americans aged 25 to 34 declined by more than 10 percent.

We’ve experienced a failure to launch as our generation is increasingly (still) living with parents. In 2003, nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 headed a household. In 2013, the rate declined to 37.2 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of Millennials living with parents has increased from 11 percent before the recession to 14 percent.

Here’s more from the report:

As many Millennials have struggled to get their careers off the ground, life milestones such as getting married and buying a home may seem out of reach. Record levels of student debt are further limiting savings and wealth building. The challenges Millennials have faced during their early working lives could impact them for years to come.

Young workers are disproportionately impacted during economic downturns. These effects are compounded by a persistent gap in earnings and savings relative to workers who enter the labor market during stronger economic times. Economists cite several factors that contribute to higher rates of unemployment among young workers, both in general and especially during difficult economic times.

Economic research focusing on prior recessions finds that young people who enter the labor force at a time of high unemployment and stagnant wage growth often experience persistently lower earnings for much of their careers.

Even if young people land new, better-paying jobs at some point, lower earnings earlier in their careers may result in permanently lower retirement savings and net worth than might have been the case if economic conditions had been better when they first entered the labor force.

One sign of the recession’s impact on Millennials is the declining rate at which young people are starting households, getting married and buying homes. To some extent, this is a result of longer-term trends toward getting married and starting a household later. But research shows a substantial portion can be attributed to recent economic conditions as well.


The problems with this report are the solutions that policymakers point to. ObamaCare, the PayCheck Fairness Act, minimum wage hikes, and government spending are some of the policy prescriptions that they think will help Millennials get (back) on sure financial footing and security. These policies tend to work in the opposite direction for young people.

For example, ObamaCare is a system that forces young, healthy people to pay more in premiums for older, sicker Americans. In addition, as we report today, businesses are cutting back on full-time worker hours and hiring more part-time workers because of the employer mandate under ObamaCare. In addition, minimum wage hikes raise the costs of low-skilled labor and drive employers to cut workers. They will also pass on higher wages through higher prices that all of us bear.

Some of the policies recommended are positive in spirit such as promoting job training and apprenticeship programs or encouraging young people to save through the tax code.

However, the real stimulators are policies that get government out of the way of business and limit regulations especially on new industries that young people launch into. Innovations in traditional industries like ridesharing, supper-sharing, and home-sharing should not be stifled by local government regulations. These tech-dependent enterprises are created and patronized by Millennials who use them to be more efficient with their resources, respectful of the environment, and pursue greater social interactions.

Despite all of this bad news, we are a highly-educated and optimistic generation. We don’t need government squeezing us for the little we have through taxes and regulation on business and entrepreneurship.