Every generation likes to believe that it came of age at an especially trying moment in history. Millennials have the Great Recession to lament. Gen X had the dotcom bust. The Boomers had Vietnam. And the Silents had the early Cold War, complete with the not-so-silly threat of nuclear war.
But at least when it comes to the job market, I think we can all agree by now that today's young adults are deserving of at least a few extra pity points. And should there be any doubt, here's a wonderful, one-chart demonstration of why from a new Pew report. At every education level, the 25- to 32-year-olds of 2013 confronted a higher unemployment rate than past generations did when they were stepping into the workforce. And keep in mind, that's 2013—four years after the economy was supposed to have started mending.
I can hear your objections. The Silent Generation grew up in the Great Depression, and even after WWII great swaths of the country were still beset by agrarian poverty most of us can barely imagine today. Too true. The late 1970s clearly weren't a picnic, and to top it off you had to listen to Kansas on the radio. Truly unfortunate. Gen X would look a whole lot less fortunate if that chart showed the unemployment rate in 2002 instead of 1995. So right!
Being young has never been a financial cakewalk. Still, consider this chart something to clip and save for the next time someone writes a column about why so many kids today seem to live in their parents' basements.
Or, if you prefer, you could bust out this little table. According to Pew, not that many more Millennials are living at home compared to recent generations—just 15 percent, versus 12 percent of young Boomers in 1986. God, kids those days.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.