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Generation Opportunity on November Jobs Numbers: Economy Offers Little Joy for Millennials as Slow Growth and Unemployment Continue This Holiday Season

Unemployment Numbers See Modest Improvement as Jobless Rate Falls to 8.6 Percent while Applications for Unemployment Benefits Rose to 402,000

Contact: Matthew Faraci, Generation Opportunity, 202-997-1636

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Generation Opportunity President Paul T. Conway, former Chief of Staff of the US Department of Labor, responds to the November 2011 jobs numbers:

"During this holiday season, our thoughts and empathy are with those who, due to the poor economy and slow growth, have yet to find work or have had to settle for scarce part-time seasonal work in order to try to make ends meet," said Paul T. Conway, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor and president of Generation Opportunity. "Unfortunately, while America's young adults remain confident in their own abilities and capacity to make a difference in the future of the country, despite the ongoing impacts of the poor economy, high unemployment and failed policies offered by Washington continue to deny them opportunities to work and secure their futures."

As reported by CNBC, "the jobs market showed more signs of weakness" last week as applications for unemployment benefits rose to 402,000. Applications for unemployment, say economists interviewed by that network, need to consistently "stay below 375,000" for the unemployment rate to go down significantly. Applications have not been at that level since February of this year.  

Bloomberg News reported that the 8.6% jobless rate for November is partly due to "a 278,000 gain in employment at the same time 315,000 Americans left the labor force" while the labor participation rate "declined to 64 percent from 64.2 percent." In addition, Bloomberg noted that a temporary bump could also be attributed to seasonal considerations because "employment at service-providers increased 126,000, including a 50,000 gain in retail trade at companies hired for the holiday shopping season. The number of temporary workers increased 22,300." The news agency also reported: "The jobless rate has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, the longest stretch of such levels of unemployment since monthly records began in 1948."

Although the November jobless rate was 8.6%, October had marked the 33rd consecutive month that the national jobless rate has remained close to or well above 9%. Unemployment climbed to 8.5% in March of 2009, reached 10.2% in October of that year, and remained close to that number throughout 2010. At the beginning of 2011, the unemployment rate was 9%, and while it dipped to 8.8% in March, it quickly rose again and has remained above 9% ever since. November's 8.6% overall jobless rate does not reflect the significant, ongoing challenges faced by young Americans. For example, The New York Times reported a youth unemployment rate of 18.1% in an August 25th story.

Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll with the polling company, inc./WomanTrend (April 16 - 22, 2011, +/- 4% margin of error) and a highlighted result for all young Americans ages 18-29 appears below:

Dissatisfaction with Current Level of Employment and Handling of Unemployment:

  • 43% are not satisfied with their current level of employment.
  • Just 31% of 18 - 29 year olds approve of the President Obama's handling of youth unemployment.

Delayed Dreams Resulting from a Poor Economy:

  • 77% of young people ages 18-29 either have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to economic factors:
    • 44% delay buying a home;
    • 28% delay saving for retirement;
    • 27% delay paying off student loans or other debt;
    • 27% delay going back to school/getting more education or training;
    • 26% delay changing jobs/cities;
    • 23% delay starting a family;
    • 18% delay getting married.

Beliefs About Leaders In Washington, D.C.:

  • 69% say the current leadership in Washington fails to reflect the interests of the younger generation.
  • Only 36% believe there is the right leadership in Washington.
  • 61% indicated that a candidate's positions on issues and record in office will be more important than charisma and likeability when they cast their vote for President in 2012.

Views on Government Spending and the Creation of More Economic Opportunity:

  • 76% of overall Millennials would favor a decrease over an increase in federal spending from its current level if given the chance to set America's fiscal priorities.
  • 69% prefer reducing federal spending over raising taxes on individuals in order to balance the federal budget.
  • 59% of overall Millennials agree the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.
  • 53% of overall Millennials agree if taxes on business profits were reduced, companies would be more likely to hire.
  • Millennials - when asked on a scale of 1 (meaning not at all) to 5 (meaning a very big concern) how much of a concern America's current "financial debt"/"deficit" rates, 66% indicated very big concerns with America's "financial debt" and 71% indicated very big concerns about America's "deficit."

National Security Concerns and The Future of American Leadership:

  • Top three greatest threats to American National Security: National Debt (62%), Energy Dependency (61%), and Indebtedness to Foreign Powers (50%). The threat of terrorism at (39%) followed as the fourth major national security concern.
  • 76% view China as a danger: 48% as an economic threat and 28% as both an economic and military threat.
  • 54% -- more than one half -- are not confident that the US will be a global leader in just 10 years. Only 9% said they were "very confident" that the US would be.
  • 70% (net) would increase production of domestic energy sources like oil, natural gas, and coal.

Generation Opportunity is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c)(4) organization that seeks to engage everyone from young adults, to early career professionals, college students, young mothers and fathers, construction workers, current service men and women, veterans, entrepreneurs and all Americans who find themselves dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to create a better tomorrow.

Generation Opportunity operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven field tactics to reach Americans 18-29. The organization's social media platforms -- "Being American" on Facebook and "The Constitution" on Facebook -- have amassed a total fan base of more than 1.9 million. Both pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal General Accountability Office (GAO), to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Brookings Institution, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The Heritage Foundation.

Read about Generation Opportunity here; visit "Being American" on Facebook here, and "The Constitution" on Facebook here. For our Spanish-language page -- Generación Oportunidad -- click here.