Is Mobility the Answer to Young Adult Unemployment Rates?

Only 54 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 are employed, according to the Pew Research Center. As unemployment among young adults grows, so does the amount of college-educated youth who decide to continue living with their parents. According to the article, “The Go-Nowhere Generation,” the number of young adults living at home nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008.

In this volatile economy, young adults are playing it safe by staying still. More young adults are camping-out on Facebook, putting off getting their driver’s license, and staying at their parent’s home, according to the article. In the article, “US Jobs Between Young and Old Is Widest Ever,” an associate vice president at the Population Reference Bureau calls these behaviors “short-term” coping strategies.

What is a long-term strategy young adults should consider? Movement. Before the Great Recession, it wasn’t uncommon for new graduates to leave their hometowns in search of a job, prosperity, and a new outlook. Today, young adults in their 20s are 40 percent less likely to move to another state than they were in the 1980s, according to “The Go-Nowhere Generation.” 

“For about $200, young Nevadans who face a statewide 13 percent jobless rate can hop a Greyhound bus to North Dakota, where they’ll find a welcome sign and a 3.3 percent rate,” writes Todd G. and Victoria Buchholz in the article.

How do we get more young adults mobile on their job search? Parents can play a big role. It can be especially hard to encourage your kids to hop state borders in pursuit of a job in hard economic times. However, if graduates are looking for a career and not finding it at home, instead of getting a service, sales, or factory job as a “short-term” solution, they should research areas where their expertise is in demand and consider relocating. Before you know it, making a short-term decision, like getting a job below your skill-level, could become a long-term decision.

Parents who try to protect their kids from the reality of the new workforce aren’t helping rebuild the economy and they aren’t helping their kids find a fulfilling life path. College graduates who are sitting at home on Facebook and paying the bills with low-level skilled jobs aren’t helping themselves or the innovation crisis in the U.S.

How could you help a new graduate consider looking beyond state lines for employment? How can an educator make an impact? How can parents make an impact? How can family members be supportive of the move?

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