Why Some Millennials Think The Economy Sucks

Why Some Millennials Think The Economy Sucks
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#1

This is more of a rant, but feel free to comment.

I am a GenXer. The employees that report to me are all Millennials. On multiple occassions they have complained that my generation ruined the economy and that the economy sucks. That surprized me, because my personal experience is that the economy is just as good if not better now than at any other time in my adult life (no counting under age 18). I asked them why they feel this way. Their response is that the economy sucks because they don’t have any savings in the bank. I’m not going to jump on the anti-Millennium bandwagon because of that statement, but since they are all recent college grads that have just entered the workforce, it was a naive, perhaps ignorant, comment. However, it lead me to think, no savings aside, why would a young Millennial think the economy sucks. It lead me to this conclusion:

Statistically speaking, the economy is better than when I was their age. The stats I looked at were very simple, but show a trend. Minimum wage in my area has increased by 124%, gas has only increased by 78%, milk has actually decreased by 13%, unemployment has decreased by 2.5 percentage points, the average home price has only increased by 22%, and the inflation rate has decreased by 0.62 percentage points. So what is the difference?

There is a reason that Gen X is known as a generation of latchkey kids, a lot of our parents both had to work in order to make ends meet, and we had to fend for ourselves most of the time. Because of this, our parents may not have felt that they could handle the financial responsibility of having a lot of kids. This is likely why the percentage of stay-at-home moms (parents) was considerably lower then than it is now. This situation may also explain the disparity in the number of GenXers and Millennials.

This disparity is another factor that may contribute to their perception that the economy is bad is that there are so many millennials, 92 million, compared to 61 million Gen Xers, which creates more competition for jobs, which, in turn, drives down what employers need to pay. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. In my area, there are plenty of jobs available, but most of them are entry-level, minimum-wage jobs. Ironically, that is also what was available to me when I entered the workforce. There just weren’t very many jobs available back then, which is why unemployment was higher. Imagine what the unemployment rate would have been back then if there were an additional 31 million people in the country.

Another factor is that there is so much pressure on the Millennials to get a college degree. College is now much more expensive, pushing Millennials into debt before they ever join the work force. Then, when they get their degree, there is so much competition amongst college-educated Millennials that supply and demand again dictates that their college education doesn’t get them the high-paying job they anticipated. So, they are further burdened with debt, because they cannot balance the cost of living with paying off student debt, again, due to the lower wages. I’m not going to use this as a basis to criticize going to college. However, supply and demand again comes into play because a college degree in a field that has a shortfall of college-educated applicants will ensure a higher-paying job, whereas a college degree in a field that is saturated will result in the scenario I described above.

My conclusion is not that the economy is bad. The issue that Millennials are dealing with is an overpopulation of Millennials.


#2

Agree. There’s also some element of lifestyle creep/expectation that’s happened over the years, although we GenX were accused of that by our parents as well.

I’m confused. Yes, there are more millenials than gen X at the time, but aren’t they both included in the unemployment stats already? Or is it more of a factor that the composition of jobs available to new college grads is much different? Less jobs for grads with soft degrees.

I remember there being a lot of the same rhetoric about the kids having it bad. I should know, I have a degree in communications, and was one of maybe a dozen kids who had a job upon graduation out of a class of hundreds.


#3

The benefit of being a GenXer is there’s less competition for jobs, especially now that the boomers are starting to retire in droves. Here’s a good graph of US birth rate:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/US_Birth_Rates.svg

There are also two major factor against them, housing cost and college debt. I think both of these will self-correct in time but it sucks to have to deal with them.


#4

Sadly I am a millennial. Appreciate this thread, even if it is just to rant.

I agree with your assessment of the economy. It is strong (at least here locally).

College is not expensive unless you make it expensive. There are bargain ways to go to college Save 50% on College Tuition. When you’re a senior in HS however you’re making life decisions based on what a group of 18 year olds around you thinks is important. There’s a high amount of college status being played out there.

The extension of extremely easy, nearly unlimited college ‘aid’ money means that some of these kids are living the lifestyle of having a $40-$60k yearly income for the years they’re in school. Sure a large chunk of that goes to tuition and room/board, but drive by college campuses and you’ll see a TON of high end boutique quick service and sit down restaurants.

They graduate and then have to start repaying that debt, all while making $40-$60k. What happened to their amazing lifestyle they were so accustom to? Their $2500 laptops, $1,000 phones, and $100 dinners? They can’t be expected to give those up, They have a degree, they should be BALLLLLLING.

I was able to get a degree for about $20k, my wife was able to do hers for half that due to grants and stipends. (This is in So Cal). We sacrificed for 3-4 years, saved our pennies and bought a house. It meant saying no to a lot of things, No to going out to bottle service on the weekends, no to vegas trips, no to high end electronics, no to a fancy apartment, no to cable tv, etc.

Now we could have all of the things we said no to, but a funny thing happened. We don’t care for them anymore.

Second, The “I have no savings” is just another way of saying “I can’t stop spending money on very pricey stuff.” Ask how many of these kids have a $600+ cell phone, and who pays more than $60 a month on their cell bill. I would wager that many of them have eaten at restaurants that you have not, and have traveled to places you have not either.

They’re working, they’re living at home and they have no savings. It is mind boggling really. What if they had to move out and pay rent? Are they paying rent at home? Where’s that money going? Oh to their brand new cars, of course!

The cynic in me says the younger millennials are even more screwed because the snapchat/IG phenomenon is to “show off” your lavish lifestyle. I was lucky that I missed that entire phase by a good number of years. I know someone who has a Rolex and lives with his parents. A ROLEX AND LIVES WITH HIS PARENTS!??


#5

They seem to have missed the message that you can have luxury something, a phone or a car or an apartment, but you can’t have luxury everything until you’re actually rich.

I do think social media and urban living definitely accelerate this process. Pre-internet, you were exposed to a lot less rich people unless you deliberately mixed with them. You could live a relatively cheap lifestyle and be somewhat oblivious to what you’re missing out on.


#6

Lots of wisdom and patience in your post. I hope that your employees know how grateful they are to have you as a boss, but it doesn’t sound like it. :disappointed:

About a year ago, a couple of my husband’s bosses took us out to dinner to celebrate his 30th year of employment with the company. It was mentioned that turnover is quite high among the younger workers and many of them have some real entitlement issues.

My daughter was able to work there in a summer program they offer for college students of employees. (She dropped out of college, but it was a good gig while it lasted.) Basically, it was a guaranteed job that paid better than minimum wage, no interviews, no experience required. She would tell me stories of the complaints from the other students in the program. They weren’t grateful to have the job at all. One person regularly left his assigned area to hide somewhere and sleep!


#7

Disagree. Many variables go into “I have no savings” and the cause of “I have no savings” isn’t always, or sometimes is never, “I can’t stop spending money on very pricey stuff.” However, I’m not saying it’s not a variable–so don’t get me wrong there. Many people spend above their means, regardless of age, career status, etc.

Also disagree with your Rolex and lives with his parents statement. Perhaps you know, but you didn’t tell us. This could have been a gift. Many people give Rolex watches as gifts. If it’s not, fine, I see your point. But, without that context, it sounds like you’re just citing something as if it’s black and white. If was a gift, are you saying they should sell it, to help them move out of their parents’ house?


#8

Don’t most people view people younger than them as entitled? Seems to be a theme these days. Just like younger people don’t think older people know more than them (generally speaking) because they’re older. For instance, many of my family and friends are older than me, but couldn’t figure out their way out of a paper bag. Not to say they don’t have successful careers, with houses, families, comfortable lifestyles, etc. But the arrogance of older folks and the “entitlement” of younger folks is a theme that will never go away, regardless of what names we give an age group.


#9

My simple perspective, also echoed by many of my friends (mid-30s): Gen X’ers are by far and large the most selfish, egotistical, and morally corrupt generation I know of. Gen Y and millennials are left with the scraps and have to clean up their multi-generational messes.

Edit: I guess I should have lumped baby boomers in this as well, the lines between the two are often blurred.

Double Edit: And I am (comparatively) quite successful in life. But it doesn’t mean that my elders have done a damn single thing to help me get there. I’m successful in spite of their selfishness.


#10

there’s no black and white answer, but it’s not genX taking away state funding for college and charging usurious interest for student loans, it’s the baby boomers and their rape/pillage cash-
hoarding attitude toward economic policy.

genX is barely represented in statewide or national political offices and that is where the policy is made for the most part. only 20% of the us house is under 50. 12% of the senate is under 50. 5% of state governors.


#11

Yeah. We gen x’ers won’t control the government until we’re hopelessly out of touch.


#12

Can’t tell if being serious.


#13

i’m sure some are, but the oldest genX is turning 47 right about now so we haven’t had enough time in power to cause any multi-generational mess. boomers have had the opportunity to avert climate change, find a way to provide universal healthcare, prevent/stop ongoing overseas war and intervention and they’ve done their absolute best to roll back every social good brought about by previous generations while piling on to our carbon output, running up an unsustainable debt and lying about all of it.
/rant


#14

We need a sarcasm tag. I couldn’t tell if you were serious either.


#15

It was most definitely not a gift.

So true.


#16

That’s a very sweeping accusation. Is it a distorted perspective or do you have solid reasons for feeling that way?


#17

Maybe distorted by the fact that 90% of those I have ever encountered within those gens describe my accusation to a T.
Also distorted by the fact that those two gens have elected this current federal government.


#18

I would like to give you some sincere advice…

Read your statements from the viepoint of a typical Baby Boomer or GenXer, not rich, not poor, just average. Ask yourself if someone who has worked hard all their life to make a decent living for them and to care for their family can really be categorized as selfish, egotistical, and morally corrupt. Ask yourself if making that kind of statment feeds into the perception that Millennials think they are entitled to everything they want, and then complain that those who tell them they have to work hard for what they want are selfish, egotistical, and morally corrupt.

Then, ask yourself, what do the other generations do that causes you to percieve that they are selfish, egotistical, and morally corrupt? Do those qualities really dominate that generation, or are the actions of most individuals of that generation motivated by different qualities. Again, I recommend you do this from the viewpoint of your everyday average Joe, not someone poor, not someone rich, not someone constantly oppressed, not someone in power.

Once you have thought about these questions, come back and let’s have some constructive dialog.

Oh, and don’t forget, chances are that the people who cared for you, provided the roof over your head, the food you ate, and cared for you like you were someone special were more than likely from one of those two generations.


#19

Don’t you dare talk down to me sinisler. Go burn your coal and own your bump-stocks.

Edit: Final comment before I abandon this thread: What have you honestly done to pass down your successes? Your parents gave this country our freedom from tyranny once nearly guaranteed during WWII. My generation has to clean up your raping, pillaging, and destroying of those foundations.


#20

Yes, it can be a theme that never goes away. At the dinner, we didn’t get too much into specifics of exactly what the younger workers thought they should have that they weren’t getting. The general comment that was made was along the lines of, “They think that everything should just be handed to them. They have a real sense of entitlement.”

Disclaimer: I’m 54. Not an old fogy yet, just a middle-aged one. Yes, my kids (in their early 20s) think they know more than me. I’ve dealt with things that they’ll never have to worry about, thankfully. Yet I realize that my methodology in some areas is outdated. Things don’t always work the way they used to. I try to keep an open mind and admit it when I’m proven wrong. In return, sometimes I hear, "Mom, you were right about…