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The 10-Year Millennial Economic Slump Employment

This year the youngest Millennials have officially become adults with the largest generation since the Baby Boomers spanning ages 18 to 36. Most researchers and studies concur the last 10 years had dealt most Millennials an increasingly difficult economic hand.

This is the final factoid in a series of three factoids that breaks the Millennial generation into three distinct segments based on proximity to the Great Recession and date of college graduation or job market entry – prior to the recession, during the recession and post-recession high unemployment period, and post-recession recovery.

Being such a large generation Millennials are starting to make their imprint on the workforce. Employed Millennial workers ages 25 to 34 are growing in number and now surpass the number of employed 35 to 44 Gen Xers. At 34.4 million post-college employed workers in 2017, Millennials are now 7.8 percent higher than Generation X in the amount of people in the workforce.  Although Millennials now have the most employees in the workforce, they still lead the way with higher unemployment rates. 4.6 million 25 to 34 year-olds are unemployed compared to 3.5 million 35 to 44 year-olds and 3.2 million 45 to 54 year-olds.

While each category felt the effects of the Great Recession on the unemployment rate, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher spiked up to 4.9 percent in January of 2010 before leveling out to 2.5 percent in 2017 – just 0.4 percentage points shy of the rate in January 2007.

The percent of Millennials 25 to 34 who are “not in the labor force”, mostly students and others who are neither working nor seeking work past college age, is in line with Generation X . At 21.8 percent, the older Millennials not in the labor force are only slightly higher then the 20.9 percent designated to 35 to 44 year-olds (younger Gen Xers). However, keep in mind that many more Gen Xers are couples where one has chosen to stay at home to care for children while the other is employed.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Current Population Survey

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Fast Fact: A Snapshot of Millennial Employment, Post-Recession
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