Nearly a third of Millennials ages 18 to 29 in the U.S. labor force were underemployed in April as measured by Gallup. This is up from 30.1 percent in March and slightly higher than the 30.7 percent a year ago.
Gallup’s U.S. underemployment measure combines the unemployed with those working part time but looking for full-time employment. Unemployment among Millennials has remained around 30 percent for most of the past year. Underemployment among all Americans has declined over the past year to 18.2 in April from 19.3 a year ago Gallup said.
A recent Associated Press report found that half of young college graduates are either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t maximize their skills, knowledge, or training. About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields. Out of the 1.5 million, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year. Broken down by occupation, young college graduates were heavily represented in jobs that require a high school diploma or less, such as the food service industry or in retail. Meanwhile student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion.
In this confounding time for Millennials, it’s little wonder that they expressed mixed attitudes toward the economy. On the one hand, they are the most optimistic across all age groups that the economy will improve following the national elections this fall (81 percent vs. 77.5 percent of respondents overall), according to an April survey conducted by Millionaire Corner.
But of those who believe otherwise, Millennials are the most vehement in their belief that unemployment will increase or stay the same (67 percent vs. 62 percent overall).
Unemployment among young adults as measured by Gallup increased to 13.6 percent last month, up from 12.5 percent the previous month, and unchanged year-over-year. In comparison, 7 percent of those between 30 and 49 years-old last month as were 6.2 percent of those ages 50 to 64.
Another 18.4 percent of Millennials in the workforce were working part time but wanting to work full time in April, Gallup found. This is up from 17.5 percent in March and 17.1 percent in April 2011. This is the highest percentage of part-time young employees looking for full-time employment seen during the past year.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.