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'Millennial' high unemployment means lower tax revenue, higher government costs

U.S. President Barack Obama departs after delivering remarks about his plans to help America's long-term unemployed during an event in the East Room of the White House January 31, 2014 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Barack Obama departs after delivering remarks about his plans to help America's long-term unemployed during an event in the East Room of the White House January 31, 2014 in Washington, DC.Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The bad economy continues to hit hard at many Americans, but warnings come now about the ramifications of long-term unemployment on youth via a report just released, titled The Hidden Cost of Young Adult Unemployment.

Among the key findings mentioned by the authors, Rory O’Sullivan, Konrad Mugglestone, and Tom Allison, is this:

“... 'Millennials' aged 18 to 34 have now seen double-digit unemployment rates for over 70 consecutive months, or almost six years. The youngest workers, aged 16 to 24, are even worse off, with unemployment rates well over twice the national average—at 15 percent versus an average for the full working population of 7.3 percent."

They also state their belief that hardly any "progress toward recovery" has been made on the matter, and the authors anticipate that the problem goes beyond the individual struggles of those considered part of the millennial generation:

"... our generation’s challenges extend beyond each individual’s struggle, or even this generation’s struggle: the young adult unemployment crisis affects everyone. Every year of historically high young adult unemployment means lower tax revenue and higher safety net expenditures for federal and state governments. Taxpayers of all generations bear the burden."

Missing: 18.4%

According to a blog from the Economic Policy Institute, the biggest drops in the Labor Force Participation Rates have been among young workers. To quote:

"The ... LFPR of workers under age 25 dropped 1.3 percentage points, from 55.6 percent to 54.3 percent. (However, these series are erratic due to small sample sizes, and the April decline in the under-25 LFPR was simply a reversal of its jump up in March.) The biggest drop in LFPR in April was among men under the age of 20. To my knowledge, data on unemployment insurance exhaustions by age don’t exist, but it is unlikely that young workers are a big proportion of exhaustions. This means that the April drop in labor force participation is likely not being driven by the expiration of federal unemployment insurance benefits last December as some have suggested, but simply by the weak labor market."

The issue is described by the EPI blogger as being at "an all-time-high" and also states in the article that "... the unemployment rate for young workers would be 18.4 percent instead of 12.8 percent if the missing young workers were in the labor force looking for work and thus counted as unemployed."