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Growing up is hard if you can’t find a job

In this economy, young people postpone careers, marriage, kids and even leaving home. Here, recent unemployed college graduate Rachel Westrick talks with a potential employer at a job fair Dec. 2, 2011 in Portland, Ore.

David Brancaccio: Make no mistake: While there have been some heartening trends in America's jobs picture, the economy's still slow -- slow enough that all-too-many young people can't find jobs, or at least good enough jobs to get on with life. That's the conclusion of a survey out this morning from the Pew Research Center. Economy-induced delays in getting on with life means fewer weddings, and fewer diapers, and fewer furniture kits from Ikea. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: Call it the economy’s "failure to launch" syndrome. If you’re 18 to 34, your wages have probably fallen. And there’s lots of competition for entry-level positions from more experienced workers. So record numbers are staying in school, or taking dead end jobs that aren’t on a career path, says Pew researcher Kim Parker.

 

Kim Parker: A quarter moved back in with their parents after living on their own. There were three in 10 young people who said they had either postponed having a baby or postponed getting married.

But the young remain just as upbeat as ever. Fewer than one in 10 think they’ll struggle financially in the future. Older people are way more pessimistic, though they’ve done better in the recession. I met John Quintanilla at his church in Rialto, Calif. He’s 18 and looking for work.

John Quintanilla: I know eventually everything’s going to fall into place. Maybe getting a house when I’m really old -- not super-old, kind of like, 30s, 40s.

The inveterate optimism of youth. You gotta love it. I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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