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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Millennials Remain Ever Hopeful during Great Recession

Adult Millennials (those in the 18- to 29-year-old age group also often referred to as members of Gen-Y) have been hit harder than any other age group by the recession.  In 2009 the 16.6% unemployment rate experienced by 18- to 24-year-olds was higher than that of any other age group.  The unemployment rate for 25- to 29-year-olds (10.6%) was more severe than the unemployment rate among workers in older age groups.

Besides facing a higher risk of unemployment, Gen-Y workers are more likely than older workers to have faced on-the-job hardship as the recession unfolded.  According to data published by Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center in February 2010, 18- to 29-year-old workers are more likely to have been asked by their employers at some point during the recession to work fewer hours, switch from full-time to part-time employment or take a pay cut.
Yet, as seen in a new Packaged Facts report (“Millennials in the U.S.: Trends and Opportunities Surrounding Gen-Y Adults,” October 2010) 18- to 29-year-olds have remained resolutely upbeat about the economy even in the face of their especially adverse circumstances.
To find out how Millennials compare to other consumers, this Packaged Facts report uses the Consumer Confidence Index of the Experian Simmons National Consumer Study, which ranks the confidence of consumers on a scale from 1 to 8.  “Anxious Consumers” are defined as consumers who rank between 1 and 3 on the scale.  “Confident Consumers” are those between 6 and 8 on the scale.
The analysis shows that only 12% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 25- to 29-year-olds are classified as Anxious Consumers, compared to 24% of Boomers (those in the 45- to 64-year-old age group) and 26% of consumers in the 65+ age segment.  While 26% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 29% of 25- to 29-year-olds fall into the Confident Consumer category, only 20% of 45- to 64-year-olds are categorized as Confident Consumers.
Conventional wisdom views Millennials as the product of “helicopter parents” who hovered over their kids during their childhood years and into their teens and even after they entered college.  The Boomer parents of Millennials are often criticized for being more concerned about beefing up their children’s self-esteem than subjecting them to rigorous academic competition.  The data in this Packaged Facts report suggest, though, that the parents of Millennials did something right and somehow prepared their kids to face the worst economy in 70 years with a spirit of hope and confidence.
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