Generation Opportunity Statement on February Jobs Numbers: Young Americans Denied Opportunities to Enter the Workforce

Gallup Indicates Increase in Unemployment Rate From 8.6% to 9.1% Without Seasonal Adjustment

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Generation Opportunity President Paul T. Conway, former Chief of Staff of the United States Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine L. Chao, responds to the February 2012 jobs numbers report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

"We talk about how historic these numbers are – not since WWII have we seen this level of unemployment persist. But the bigger story is what it represents – millions of lives – moms, dads, brothers and sisters, construction workers, veterans, young Americans, and many more trying to enter a workforce with fewer and fewer opportunities. These figures represent denied opportunity –heartache and angst for millions of Americans, and young Americans are being hit especially hard.

"While young Americans are being denied opportunities today, they are being saddled with record levels of debt to pay off tomorrow. It is unconscionable. The reality is that policy decisions coming out of this administration have consequences, and Americans are feeling the impact firsthand, every day. The path forward requires leadership, courage, and a dramatic shift from the policy direction of the last few years."

Prior to the release of today's unemployment report, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on February 29th that "… the job market remains far from normal: The unemployment rate remains elevated, long-term unemployment is still near record levels, and the number of persons working part-time for economic reasons is very high."  

Also, last month, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a 63.7% civilian labor force participation rate – a 30-year low – which revealed that more than one million Americans simply gave up looking for work, dropping out of the labor force. The Congressional Budget Office forecasted, in a January 2012 report, that unemployment will likely increase this year and in 2013.

Yesterday, Gallup released their U.S. Unemployment Rate, Monthly Averages showing the unemployment numbers, without seasonal adjustment, have risen from 8.6% in January to 9.1% in February, following an upward trend from 8.5% in December.

Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll with the polling company, inc./WomanTrend (April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4% margin of error) and select highlighted results for all young Americans ages 18-29 appear below:

Dissatisfaction with Current Level of Employment and President Obama's Handling of Unemployment:

  • 43% are not satisfied with their current level of employment.
  • Just 31% of 18 – 29 year olds approve of President Obama's handling of youth unemployment.

Delayed Dreams Resulting from a Poor Economy:

  • 77% of young people ages 18-29 either have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to economic factors
  • 44% delay buying a home;
  • 28% delay saving for retirement;
  • 27% delay paying off student loans or other debt;
  • 27% delay going back to school/getting more education or training;
  • 26% delay changing jobs/cities;
  • 23% delay starting a family;
  • 18% delay getting married. 

Leaders in Washington, D.C. Fail to Reflect Interests of Young Americans:

  • 69% say the current leadership in Washington fails to reflect the interests of the younger generation.
  • Only 36% believe there is the right leadership in Washington.
  • 61% indicated that a candidate's positions on issues and record in office will be more important than charisma and likeability when they cast their vote for President in 2012.

Energy and National Security:

  • Greatest threats to national security: National Debt (62%), Energy Dependency (61%), and Indebtedness to Foreign Powers (50%).
  • 70% would increase production of domestic energy sources like oil.

Government Spending and Economic Opportunity:

  • 76% of overall Millennials would favor a decrease over an increase in federal spending from its current level if given the chance to set America's fiscal priorities.
  • 69% prefer reducing federal spending over raising taxes on individuals in order to balance the federal budget.
  • 59% of overall Millennials agree the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.
  • 53% of overall Millennials agree if taxes on business profits were reduced, companies would be more likely to hire.


Generation Opportunity is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c)(4) organization that seeks to engage everyone from young adults, to early career professionals, college students, young mothers and fathers, construction workers, current service men and women, veterans, entrepreneurs, and all Americans who find themselves dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to create a better tomorrow. Generation Opportunity will continue to engage young Americans on issues that impact their lives and the nation as a whole and encourage them through both social media and grassroots organizing to become more civically engaged and make their voices heard.

Generation Opportunity operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven grassroots tactics to reach young Americans 18-29. The organization's social media platforms – "Being American by GO" on Facebook and "The Constitution by GO" on Facebook – have amassed a total fan base of more than 2.4. Both pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal General Accountability Office (GAO), to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Brookings Institution, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The Heritage Foundation.

Read about Generation Opportunity here; visit "Being American by GO" on Facebook here and "The Constitution by GO" on Facebook here.

For our Spanish-language page – Generacion Oportunidad – click here.

Matthew Faraci

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