Bill, who operates a marine service business in Callao, Virginia, has seen his business slow considerably in the last couple of years. Most of his clients are affluent retirees, who in the past operated one or more pleasure boats, keeping Bill busy.
Things have changed in this new economy, but not for the reasons you might think.
Money going elsewhere
"What I see are my clients getting out of boating because they are now having to financially help their children and grandchildren," Bill told ConsumerAffairs.com. "I seem to lose customers every month for that reason."
Anecdotal evidence suggests that, of the nearly nine percent of unemployed Americans, many are young people, just out of college or early in their careers. When businesses began laying off, young people were among the first out the door.
Matt Segal, co-founder of an youth employment advocacy group called Our Time, has launched a campaign to engage young adults around the issue of rampant unemployment among the millennial generation. The group has launched a petition, designed to build awareness as well as unite the millions of young Americans concerned about their futures.
"Clearly, young Americans want to work," Segal said. "We are scrappy, entrepreneurial, and determined. Our strength is truly in our numbers."
Segal said young people have financial obligations, just like their seniors. The average student loan debt from college is over $20,000 per person, and seniors graduate with an average of over $2,100 in credit card debt on top of that figure. Moreover, nearly 14 million Americans aged 18-29 do not have health insurance.
The Federal Government spends approximately $8 on seniors for every $1 invested in “the children,” he said. A few decades ago, America’s investment in youth was greater; the economy, stronger; and the economic prospects for future generations, much more promising.
AARP for young people
The organization, described by the Huffington Post as the "AARP for the under 30 set," released a companion video (below) this week which was created by students at Kenyon University in support of the petition.
Though the economy seems to be improving, and recent hiring reports have sounded encouraging, Segal says America's youngest generation of workers aren't getting hired and remains disproportionally jobless. He says one-in-six young Americans are currently unemployed, and millions more are looking for full-time work.
"America needs a wake-up call, we are leaving our next generation behind," Segal said. "And young Americans need a reality check - no one is coming to bail us out. We have to band together and advocate for own economic interests if we want things to change."