Friday, February 01, 2013

From the Front Lines of the Generational Wars

Reading the NYT story this morning about the decline in law school applicants, I got struck by a curious irony.  The subject is generational wars and the labor force.  We've been telling ourselves for years on of our major headaches is the giant vampire squid of retirees extracting sustenance from an ever (relatively) smaller workforce.

Maybe someday, but for the moment, it's just the reverse, isn't it?  I mean--we may not yet be Greece or Spain, with youth unemployment rates north of 50 percent.   We don't have anything like those numbers yet, but the youth number does run something like double the general rate.   Conventional unemployment numbers those who aren't trying because they are in school.  They don't count those who have simply quit trying and I wonder--is the "quit trying" (home in mama's basement) number higher for kids than it is for adults.  And I read that the pension model is in some places exactly the reverse of the common understanding: the old are sharing  their pension checks with the unemployed young, turning the old age benefit into a general support net.

At any rate if we are going to depend on the kiddies in our dotage, we'd better find some way to put them to work.

1 comment:

Ken Houghton said...

The average 16-19 US unemployment rate during the last "growth" cycle was 16.4%. It's currently at 24.2%.

And that's with a steadily declining share of that age in the workforce.