Even though millennials see higher unemployment rates, many remain optimistic about their job prospects, according to a new Federal Reserve Board report.
Factors, such as automation and the trend of contingent workers, have affected employees, especially millennials who are the newest entrants to the workforce.
The Fed used unemployment rates from August, when the U.S. rate was 4.9 percent. (See chart at right.) The rates were lower in November, but the trends are similar: The jobless rate was 14.4 percent for people 18-19, 4.8 percent for those 25-34 and 4.6 percent for the nation, according to data the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Fed commissioned GfK to survey over 2,000 people in 2015 to compare to a similar poll in 2013. The 120-page report provides a snapshot of the employment, education and financial independence of people age 18 to 30.
Overall, those adults were more optimistic about future job opportunities in 2015 (61 percent) than in 2013 (45 percent). Moreover, people who were employed, enrolled in college or who had some college education were the most optimistic.
And, as other surveys have shown, millennials aren’t so different from earlier generations in wanting employment stability. They prefer permanent, steady jobs (62 percent) to higher-paying jobs (36 percent) and to contingent or contact work.
Other key findings from the 2015 survey include:
- 61 percent are positive about future employment opportunities vs. 45 percent in 2013. People with permanent (68 percent) or full-time (65 percent) jobs were more optimistic about their future than those with temporary (43 percent) or part-time (54 percent) jobs.
- More millennials see value in higher education than in 2013. Half said the financial benefits of education outweigh the costs, up from 41 percent in 2013. Despite that knowledge, people without postsecondary training list cost, a lack of time and course scheduling as obstacles.
- Over 30 percent didn’t not receive information about jobs/careers in high school or college.
- 45 percent work in a field closely related to their educational and training background.
- Nearly half of part-time workers were considered underemployed, and would prefer to work more hours.
- 73 percent can cover monthly expenses with their income vs. 64 percent in 2013, but many receive financial support from their families. And more of them can cover long-term expenses in an emergency (See chart at right.).
The bottom line: Most millenials aren’t sure how their standard of living will stack up against their parents’, according to the survey. Those whose parents have a high school education or less are more likely to expect a higher standard of living (19 percent) than those with at least one parent with a bachelor’s degree (17 percent).