October jobs filled with mixed blessings for young Americans

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, November 8, 2013

The October jobs report comes filled with mixed blessings for Millennials, as youth unemployment dipped below 11 percent last month despite the low number of jobs created for Americans.

According to Generation Opportunity, a national, non-partisan organization advocating for economic opportunity for young people through less government and more freedom, 10.9 percent of Americans aged 18-29 were unemployed in October, down from 11.2 percent in September. The effective unemployment rate – which accounts for Millennials who have given up looking for work – was 15.9 percent.

“The difference between this month’s Millennial jobs report and last month’s Millennial jobs report is that there’s an additional 50,000 young people that dropped out of the workforce entirely,” Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg told Red Alert Politics. “Unfortunately, far too many of my peers are out of work completely and have even dropped out of the labor force.”

The number comes as a bit of a surprise considering the overall unemployment rate for Americans rose 0.1 percent in October, to 7.3 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported Friday that just 200,000 jobs were added last month.

None of this is considered welcome news to young Americans struggling to find work.

“It’s unfortunate that throughout this entire recession, and really over the last decade, we’ve seen this unemployment rate for young people continue to inch downward,” Feinberg said. “We should be seeing young Americans participating more in the economy as they grow. Unfortunately, we continue to see this trend as Millennial unemployment and Millennial participation rate in the economy continue to go down, and that bodes very poorly for the future of our country when that many people aren’t participating in the future of the country.”

One thing that Feinberg doesn’t believe affected unemployment for Millennials nationwide, however, is last month’s 17-day government shutdown. Thousands of federal employees applied for unemployment benefits during the shutdown, with the government ultimately spending $2 billion in back pay for the furloughed workers.

“Some will undoubtedly blame this lousy jobs report on the shutdown. The problem isn’t that the government shut down – it’s that when it reopened, it continued to spend away our future and regulate away our opportunity,” he said in a press release Friday.

Feinberg specifically noted Obamacare as something that the federal government is spending our future away on. Generation Opportunity has done a big push in recent weeks to encourage Millennials to opt-out of signing up for the healthcare exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, and believes that the impact the law will have on young Americans will continue to have a negative impact on youth unemployment for some time.

“Obamacare is – and will continue to be – a disaster for young Americans, and my peers are smart enough not to sign up for this awful deal. The rollout of Obamacare has been a disaster in so many ways, but no matter what young people are going to see this awful deal for them and choose to opt out,” he said.

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