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Report: Unemployment especially hard on young 'millenials'

Posted January 4, 2013
Updated January 5, 2013

— With a phone in one hand and a mouse in the other, Mary Finney looks like the consummate professional in her pinstripe suit.

Finney, 24, earned her bachelor’s degree in visual arts from Fayetteville State University nearly two years ago. But she still lives with mom and dad.

Her job at the Division of Employment Security is only temporary, offering no health insurance or other benefits. Despite her search, she’s had no full-time offers of employment.

“It’s good you have a degree, but they’re also looking for experience,” Finney said. “It’s not just OK that you have a year of experience. They want you to have a good amount of experience.”

Finney fits the profile of the “millennial.” That’s what nonprofit advocacy organization Generation Opportunity calls young adults, ages 18 to 29, who can’t find permanent work.

According to a report released Friday by the organization, unemployment among young adults was 11.5 percent in December. That’s higher than the overall national rate of 7.8 percent.

The report lists the unemployment rate for young Hispanics and African-Americans even higher, at 12.2 percent and 22.1 percent, respectively.

“Traditionally, it’s going to be a bit higher for that group anyway,” said Edith Edmond, manager with the Cumberland County office of the Division of Employment Security. “They’re competing with their parents and competing with multiple generations – not just their peers.”

It’s also an age group that has a lot of people coming out of the military, including Dion Chavis. The 26-year-old who left the Army a year ago said it’s been a year of rejections from potential employers.

“Mainly, I’m looking for anything that has to do with customer service," he said."Some type of cook, anything.”

Mary Finney Unemployment rate among young adults at 11.5 percent

Teri Schultz, manager of Cape Fear Staffing, said young adults often have unrealistic salary expectations. Twenty-somethings want to make what 40-somethings make. She said millenials need to embrace entry level.

Christopher Leggett is willing to do just that. The 24-year-old used to work at House of Raeford, a turkey processing plant in Raeford. He said he's been looking hard with no luck.

"I mean, I’ve looked everywhere," he said. "I’m looking for fast-food. I’ll take anything right now.”

Charlene Sayers, 24, single mom of a toddler, works part time at The Wine Cafe. She's been looking for a full-time clerical job.

“I’ve been applying for months,” she said. “God knows how many places. And every time I either get an email where they’re not hiring, or you don’t get any kind of phone call or emails back.”

Mary Finney knows the feeling.

"I really just want some kind of job security,” she said, the word “believe” written on a sign above her temp-job desk.

14 Comments

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  • goldenosprey Jan 7, 4:15 p.m.

    How easily you generalize an entire generation. You know what those young whippersnappers had handed to them? Households where both parents probably had to work and declining working class and middle class standard of living. Because somewhere along the line the government decided it was more important to build weapons and cut taxes and pad the wallets of the plutocracy than improve education, access to medical care, infrastructure and family financial security. Kids are no more lazy or deviant than when you were young or when Huck Finn was young, for that matter.

  • torchhappysean Jan 7, 3:05 p.m.

    young people are used to working like dogs for dog money......
    goldenosprey.... Now who's having a out of touch fantasy??? Do you really think young people today want to put forth the effort to actually work?? After spending their first 22 or 23 years being cottled, proped up and pacified by a society that does everything in its power to keep them from getting their feelings hurt?? It's time to take off the kid gloves and get your head out of the sand so you can see the facts clearly!!! The majority of our younger "just graduated college generation" is so used to everything being given to them without having to work for it that they can't adjust to the shock of real life when it rears up and slaps them in the face... The worst part of this whole situation is that their parents not the kids are the ones to blame for over-compensating to makeup for lack of REAL parenting skills...

  • goldenosprey Jan 7, 2:32 p.m.

    Don't put the blame on the boomers! They NEED to work in order to survive. What are they supposed to do, roll over so someone with no experience or job skills can work?- driverkid3

    My older than boomer parents still work because Wall Street sank their retirement. In the old days folks used to retire, when they are old enough to get SS $ and medicare and they have a stack in retirement, they wonder why young folks aren't getting hired. They come up with out of touch fantasies that they are afraid to work. My experience and observation is the opposite. Noe that we must work harder and longer with fewer benefits than in past decades, young people are used to working like dogs for dog money.

  • driverkid3 Jan 7, 1:01 p.m.

    goldenosprey::::and the boomers are not retiring fast enough to loosen up the job market.

    Don't put the blame on the boomers! They NEED to work in order to survive. What are they supposed to do, roll over so someone with no experience or job skills can work?

  • Crumps Br0ther Jan 7, 12:44 p.m.

    Interesting that these are the same folks that supported Obama without question. They get out of school and Barry has nothing for them. Suckers

  • torchhappysean Jan 7, 12:32 p.m.

    Maybe these young people should have spent more time looking into workforce demand for the field they chose instead of how much money they could make with as little effort as possible on their part.. Kids and young adults have become increasingly lazier over the last few generations and seem to think that hard work (I.E. Physical labor) and being outside instead of a climate controlled office is beneath them. Also they have the strange concept that they are entitled to make the same amount as a person who has been doing the same job for 15 or 20 yrs... This is why America has become second rate to China and the other foreign countries who used to look up to us.....

  • goldenosprey Jan 7, 12:08 p.m.

    Then you probably shut yourself off from good employees. The degree is not "worthless" It demonstrates the graduate has the intellect and discipline to finish a degree, for which there were basic studies requirements. The graduate is creative and has training in visual communication and synthesizing various themes into communication with an audience. This is a good degree for a graphic artist, visual programmer, set designer, landscape designer, art teacher, commercial artist, retail buyer, design consultant...

  • superman Jan 7, 11:06 a.m.

    There are "real" jobs in visual arts, they may not as obvious to you as the standard ones. Most people get jobs unrelated or tangentially related to their degrees unless they are teachers or nurses.

    As an employer I would not hire her. Not only is her degree worthless but more importantly I woudd question her lack of judgment and her lack of being able to plan ahead. You you are serious about wanting to get a job--especially in todays market you should prepare yourself.

    goldenosprey How about suggesting to her to to the rest of us jobs for which she might be qualified.

  • goldenosprey Jan 7, 10:25 a.m.

    There are "real" jobs in visual arts, they may not as obvious to you as the standard ones. Most people get jobs unrelated or tangentially related to their degrees unless they are teachers or nurses. The problem is that lack of demand creates a lack of hiring. and the boomers are not retiring fast enough to loosen up the job market.

  • SaveEnergyMan Jan 4, 7:55 p.m.

    Just because you have a college degree doesn't mean someone has to hire you. You still have to possess the knowledge and skills required to positively impact your employer. Supply and demand at work here, it's not difficult to understand, unless that college filled your head with artsy stuff rather than basic economics.

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