The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.
And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults — aged 16 to 24, excluding students — getting a job and moving out of their parents’ houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession — in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.
A higher U.S. minimum wage is providing a cushion to the economy when it is most needed, according to a report released on Thursday.
The Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think-tank based in Washington, said recent rises in the minimum wage have acted as a "stealth stimulus," preventing the worst recession in generations from spiraling out of control.
The study found that the bottom-rung pay increases will boost spending by $4.9 billion.