Stagnant Life for the Up-and-Comers
“It is truly a Great Depression for young adults,” said Andrew Sum, an economics professor and the director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. “Young adults are working at lower rates than they ever worked before since World War II. As a result, you would expect migration to fall because they have nowhere to go to.”
That’s the conclusion drawn from Census data suggesting that younger workers are staying put despite local unemployment, seeing no opportunity elsewhere. One wonders how this will affect the behavior of the generation of Americans who’ve just reached adulthood.
The lack of such opportunities as often propel new graduates toward productive lives chasing the American dream is surely a factor. But then again, the expectation of living in a childhood home (on the parents’ healthcare into one’s mid-twenties) seems to have increased anyway, as have the gadgets of a sedentary lifestyle.
An optimist might observe that an increase in reluctance to move will force wages up in areas in which labor’s in short supply, while an decrease in the desire to work will do the same throughout the society. At some point, though, the cost has to become prohibitive, except for those who can move their operations to countries without the excess wealth to support sloth.
An adjustment of priorities could be a very healthy thing in our consumerist society, but (especially if the urge toward consumerism is not adjusted) it could also create a nation of dependents in search of support.