Young adults in America are not optimistic about the future, and for good reason – financially they are doing far worse than those from previous generations.
Statistics released by accounting behemoth Deloitte shows that the average net worth of those aged 18-to-25 is only $8,000, down 34 percent since 1996. That’s due in large part to sharp increases in education, housing, food, health care and transportation costs while wages have largely remained unchanged.
“In the United States, millennials who entered the labor market around the recession, or during the years of slow growth that followed, experienced less economic growth in their first decade of work than any other generation,” the survey stated. “They have lower real incomes and fewer assets than previous generations at comparable ages, as well as higher levels of debt. The cumulative effect has altered a wide variety of financial decisions.”
Those numbers followed broader global research conducted by Deloitte that stated millennials and Generation Z members are feeling unsettled about their future, especially economically. Only 26 percent expect economic conditions to improve in the coming year, down from 45 percent a year earlier. Income inequality and unemployment were listed as top concerns.
“From the economic recession a decade ago to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, millennials and Gen Zs have grown up in a unique moment in time impacting connectivity, trust, privacy, social mobility and work,” said Michele Parmelee, Deloitte global chief talent officer.
But there are things these younger generations can do to help create a more secure future – join a union! The median union worker makes $10,000 more a year than the median non-union one. They are also more likely to have health care and retirement benefits.
Now, to be fair, there is proof younger workers understand this. The number of millennials who were a member of a union grew by nearly 400,000 between 2016 and 2017. A Pew Report this year, meanwhile, found that 68 percent of those aged 18-to-29 support unions, the highest of any age group.
While the U.S. Supreme Court and lawmakers in some statehouses have successfully rolled back labor rights, workers do have the power to halt such actions. Last year in Missouri, for example, voters overrode an effort to put a so-called right-to-work measure on the books.
All workers can ensure a better future for themselves by organizing on the job and then supporting candidates at the ballot box that protect their rights to collectively bargain. It’s never too soon to create a better tomorrow for the working class!