A Young Worker’s Plight in a Struggling Economy
By: Cory McCray, Young Trade Unionists
As we all continue to hear that the unemployment rate for workers is fewer than 10%, have we taken the time to really understand the future of the young worker that’s unemployment rate has been stated to linger around 20%? Among major demographic groups in the U.S., the jobless rates for young men (20.5 percent), young African-Americans (33.4 percent), and young Asian-Americans (21.6 percent) continued to rise from a year earlier. The unemployment rates for young women (17.5 percent), young Caucasians (16.2 percent), and young Hispanics (22.1 percent) hardly changed the BLS reports.
To most this can be considered challenging or troubling, and that is because it is. The reality is that you’re competing in a workforce where people with 15 or 20 years of experience are fighting for the same job. There is almost a 20% unemployment rate amongst construction industries across the states for young workers that want to join apprenticeship programs; for those young workers that decided to go to college only to be disappointed with the unrevealing possibilities in the job market; for the young workers that have found some type of employment in this bad job market, research has shown that they are earning 17.5% less than their counterparts in a good economy. Research shows that this can adversely affect young workers for seventeen years of their life. As we deal with underemployment and less benefits than our parents generation. We are at a point in time where businesses are demonizing pensions to institute “save your own retirements 401K slaves”.
The point of the story is that it is heartbreaking to see my other young friends and families have to deal with this epidemic that is out of our control. I have heard parents and elders repeatedly say “We are doing this for the future” or “We are laying down the ground work for the next generation”. Well the moral is that our elders created this mess and it’s getting worse, but we are going to have to be the ones that stand up, take responsibility, and fix it.
First, we have to be diligent in purchasing Made in America products, remember these are our family, friend, or own jobs that we might be saving. This must be executed with our cars, clothes, food, and even cleaning products. Second, we have to strive to receive the best education and training available to compete with the innovation from other countries. A high school diploma is no longer acceptable like past generations to make a good wage, affordable benefits, and a dependable retirement. We have to obtain college degrees or apprenticeship training certificates to be competitive in this job market, never miss the opportunity to obtain a great education. Finally, we have to stand up for conditions that our parents are giving up such as a living wage, pensions, safety conditions, and affordable health care.
I watched a movie last night that was called Wall Street “Money Never Sleeps”. In the beginning of the movie the star called my generation NINJA’s (No Income, No Jobs, No Assets). Young Workers I challenge you not to relax like the previous generations, but to survive, learn, and fight such as generations from the Great Depression of 1928. We have the power to enact change and stimulate this great country we call America!