Large numbers of young adults are remaining at home after they complete their education. A recent study by the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. found that “The share of young people living with their parents has increased relative to pre-recession rates for all labor force status groups. The share of 18-to-34-year-olds living at home might not fully return to pre-recession rates…. Young people’s labor market prospects have not fully recovered, with involuntary part-time employment in particular a continuing problem.” Along with a bad job market, the report cites college debts and housing affordability as reasons why these young people don’t go out on their own.
This situation poses problems. It often puts emotional and financial stress on the parents, while preventing the adult children from developing as fully contributing and responsible members of society. Also, the failure of so many potential buyers to enter the housing market is an economic liability.
And why is the job market bad for them, both in terms of finding full-time employment and getting a paycheck big enough to move away from home? Well, one thing not helping matters is the ongoing mass entry of foreign workers into the U.S. workforce, thanks to our overgenerous immigration policy. In recent years, immigrants have taken a disproportionate share of employment growth.
As for high student loan debt which makes it hard for the debtor to buy a home, it would be interesting to determine how much of the debt is for degrees in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). For years, American companies have complained that there are not enough American workers to fill STEM jobs, a claim which no doubt has encouraged many young Americans to train for those fields in hope of obtaining a job with a good salary.
Sadly, when they went to apply for work, quite a number of them were disappointed. Despite the claims of American worker shortages, many companies simply have preferred to hire foreign STEM workers through the H-1B visa program. They want those visa holders because they can pay them less and work them harder than Americans. A majority of Americans with STEM degrees, according to a study by the Census Bureau, don’t have jobs in STEM fields. Many are unemployed.
Although a lot of young adults living at home have part-time jobs, there are more than a few who don’t work at all. Some are unemployed. Others include the large and growing number of Americans who have dropped out of the workforce and are not officially counted as unemployed – though some would like to work but have given up looking because they are discouraged about finding employment.
A lot of stay-at-home young adults may lack motivation and confidence that they can succeed in the work world. And one thing that may inhibit them in these areas is lack of employment during their teen years. Studies confirm that teen employment, even at typically menial and low-level jobs, is a springboard to future success in the job market.
Unfortunately, teen employment in the U.S. has plummeted sharply in recent decades. One reason, notes researcher Andrew Sum of Northwestern University, is that immigrants, often illegal aliens, are taking the jobs that our teenagers used to do – and would still do – if they weren’t facing competition from these foreign adults. This competition disproportionately harms American teens in low-income families, particularly minorities.
Immigration enthusiasts often claim that mass immigration must go on and on so that foreigners can have a shot at the American Dream. But do they care about the dreams, hopes and futures of young Americans? Evidently not.