Bummer: A lost generation?

Economist Robert Samuelson paints a pretty bleak picture in an op-ed Is the economy creating a lost generation?

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The essence of his opinion piece:

This is not a good time to be starting out in life.

Jobs are scarce, and those that exist often pay unexpectedly low wages.

Of the 23.4 million Americans who, on average, were considered “underemployed” over the past year … 41 percent (9.5 million) were 30 or under.

Fully one-fifth of younger workers belong to the “underemployed.”

Beginning a family — always stressful and uncertain — is increasingly a stretch.

The weak economy begets weak family formation.

Marriage has been declining for years, and the U.S. birth rate has fallen to its lowest level since at least 1920.

The total fertility rate — the estimated number of children born to adult women in their lifetime — has fallen to 1.9 (the replacement rate is 2.1).

When the labor market operates smoothly, it creates an economic escalator … people moving to advance themselves.

The escalator is broken: The bleak labor market has hurt all age groups, but none more than the young.

I’ve been opining that the Obama years will eventually be recorded in history as America’s lost decade.

Samuelson asks: Could this become a lost generation?

Ouch.

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