Obamanomics Hurting Millennials

June 4, 2014

Millennials are suffering under the Obama recovery, writes George Will for the Washington Post.

In the 1981-1982 recession, in which the U.S. had an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent, the Reagan administration raised interest rates, lowered taxes and eased regulations. The economy expanded from 1983 to 1988, growing at an average of 4.6 percent. For five quarters, it grew over 7 percent.

But President Obama has taken a different approach in our current recovery:

  • June marks the beginning of the sixth year of a very weak recovery from the 18-month-long recession, and in the first quarter of 2014, the U.S. saw just 0.1 percent economic growth.
  • Under Obama, the economy has grown at 2.5 percent, 1.8 percent, 2.8 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, from 2010 through 2013.
  • Regulation has spiked under the Obama administration. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, while Congress passed 72 laws in 2013, bureaucrats issued 3,659 regulations.

Millennials have been especially hurt by the country's weak economic performance:

  • While the unemployment rate fell by four-tenths of a point in April, it dropped because 806,000 Americans left the labor force. The labor force participation rate is the lowest that the U.S. has seen since 1978.
  • While there are 14.5 million more Americans than there were before the recession, there are 300,000 fewer jobs.
  • Currently, young Americans have $1.1 trillion in student loan debt -- the fastest-growing debt category. In 2012, more than 70 percent of college graduates had debts averaging $30,000.
  • More than 40 percent of new college graduates are unemployed or in jobs that do not require a college degree. Forty-four percent of job growth since the recession has been in food services, retail clerking and other low-wage occupations.
  • The number of millennials in the work force declined in April by 484,000. Thirty-one percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 are living with their parents, and 25 percent of those young Americans have jobs.

Millennials are the first generation since World War II to see higher unemployment or poverty rates than their parents did at the same age.

Source: George F. Will, "The Obama Economy Offers Bad News for Millennials," Washington Post, May 28, 2014.

 

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