Young, Underemployed and Optimistic

Coming of Age, Slowly, in a Tough Economy
Source: Pew Research Center, Social & Demographic Trends

From the Executive Summary:

This report is based on findings from a Pew Research Center survey conducted Dec. 6-19, 2011, among 2,048 adults nationwide, including 808 young adults (ages 18 to 34). The report also draws on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here is a summary of the key findings:

  • Young adults hit hard by the recession.
  • Public says today’s young adults have it harder than their parents did.
  • Tough economic times altering young adults’ daily lives, long-term plans.
  • Adulthood begins later than it used to.
  • For young adults, bad times don’t trump optimism.
  • Older adults have maintained their standard of living.
  • Among the employed, job satisfaction has remained steady.
  • But young workers feel more vulnerable than they used to.
  • Few young workers see their current job as a “career.”
  • Most young workers say they don’t have the education and training to get ahead.
  • College enrollment rates are tied to employment declines among the young.

Full report (PDF)

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