The Atlantic has been on the Millennial beat for a long time, explaining why 20-somethings aren’t buying cars or houses or cable subscriptions, not getting married, not having children, and sometimes not even moving out of their parents’ basements. The answer, again and again, is the economy.
Unemployment for adults between 20 and 24 is 14%, compared to the national average of 8.1%. But even those with jobs are facing something without modern precedent: Steadily falling annual earnings (graph via Progressive Policy Institute).
Real earnings for young grads with a college degree have now declined for six straight years. “Real average earnings for young grads have fallen by over 15% since 2000, or by about $10,000 in constant 2011 dollars,” PPI reports.
Meanwhile, the earnings gap between college graduates and non-college graduates is holding steady, a reflection of falling real wages at the low end.