A Rough Coming of Age In the New Century


By many measures, the U.S. economy has spent most of the past six-plus years getting better: Unemployment has fallen by half to 5 percent, 12 million jobs have been created and household wealth is at record highs. Specific industries and regions seem to be doing well. But those averages belie exactly how uneven the gains have been spread.

No demographic group has suffered more from this disparate distribution of economic progress than the 25-34 age cohort (if we include college-age students, that increases the age range to 18-34). This group, despite all of the data showing improvements in the broader economy, continues to significantly endure economic hardship.

I was reminded of this recently when perusing some of the data on U.S. Census website. More millennials are living in poverty and fewer are employed or own homes, compared with baby boomers in 1980. The impact of graduating in a recession is more than a temporary setback; research has shown that it has lasting effects on a person’s career and their lifetime incomes.


I am 27 so I fit this demographic. While I am lucky enough to have a good career and have been wise with my money from a young age, I know a lot of people/friends my age that are struggle, and not necessarily because they made poor choices. There is definitely a disconnect, and it can be frustrating for some because people my parent’s age (baby boomers) just don’t fully understand what young people are facing today.


I can’t agree more with both invain and the article. I am 32 and it is a very tough time out there.

I graduated back in 2007 though didn’t get my first job until 2009 due to competition. The recruiters would tell me every job that comes on the market there was about 150 applicants. In the market I was competing we had senior level employees taking entry level jobs just to get a paycheck. I ended up having to take a job for a pay not much better then working at Walmart just to get the experience. After a while I ended up moving to Colorado where the job market in software development was much stronger. At first it was going pretty well. I got a good paying job in a beautiful area of the country. Though over time the outlook kept getting worse and worse. My rent increased over 50% in a matter of 3 years. Great if you are the renter. :slight_smile: I wanted to buy a house so badly to level off costs. Though all the affordable entry level houses of decent quality had been bought up by investors looking to take advantage of the strong rental market. Prices for entry level homes were going up at an unbelievable pace due to increased demand and decreased supply in this category of houses. Those of you interested in LGI Homes this is exactly why I am so bullish on the company. They are in the right area of the market at the right time and I don’t see it slowing down for a while as my generation settles down into their first house. During this time of incredible inflation every year my left over pay after expenses seemed to shrink. I live pretty cheap in order to maximize investments but every year the amount I could invest would get less and less. Then a little less then a year ago they shut down our Colorado office for efficiency reasons and all of us working there lost our jobs. Getting out on the market I found out my skills were already a bit dated. This combined with increased competition for jobs I found out I would have to take a pay cut in order to stay in the industry. I decided to start my own company instead and so far am much happier for the choice.
Anyway that is my very shortened story and I sympathize with those trying to make it out there in the job market. It is tough for many. I also knew many people in Colorado forced to live with roommates in order to have enough money to eat. I was much better off then most. Depending on where you live the lack of wage increases are really hurting a lot of my generation. Many of us in Colorado didn’t buy houses not because we didn’t want to but because it wasn’t an option.