Nearly one in five young adults, ages 20-24 were neither working nor in school in the first quarter of 2021, raising concerns about the future of the American workforce should they remain unoccupied as their 20s tick on without the vital experience necessary to become a functional, contributing adult member of society.
In the first three months of this year, Bloomberg reports, 3.8 million young people were unemployed but not attending school or vocational training, according to a recent report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. This figure, known as the NEET rate (for youth not in employment, education or training), is up by 740,000 from the same time last year.
While previous analysis from CEPR found that this demographic of young Americans was hit particularly hard during the pandemic as they “were largely employed in sectors that did not allow remote work options and would not be as quick to recover from the pandemic’s shock.”
A year later, however, and young people are still disproportionately without occupation, it appears.
“Inactive youth is a worrying sign for the future of the economy, as they don’t gain critical job skills to help realize their future earnings potential,” Bloomberg explains. “Further, high NEET rates may foster environments that are fertile for social unrest.”
While the NEET rate for young adults is less dire than it was at its April 2020 peak, the rates of black and Hispanic young adults who are neither in school nor working remain higher than those of white and Asian 20-24-year-olds.
Most noteworthy is that, in the first quarter of 2021, nearly one-fourth of black young adults were inactive, an increase from 20.9 percent in the same period of 2020.
Meanwhile, for the first time in history, the rate of unemployed teenagers was lower than that of adults aged 20-24.
All this raises the question … what are these unemployed, unstudious young adults actually doing with their time?
The CEPR study asserts that the American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration’s lofty and cripplingly expensive post-pandemic economic recovery plan, “will help improve the employment and educational prospects for young adults.”
“But current and ongoing recovery efforts need to do more to ensure that young adults in today’s diverse working class can improve their long-term prospects in the labor market and prosper in the years ahead,” they conclude.
Gee, so it’s going to take more than government handouts to inspire young people to get off their entitled rears and do something with their lives? Who would have thunk it?
Remember, this is a generation that has largely embraced socialism and seems to view looting and rioting as a justifiable means to express outrage at the system, so I doubt anyone would loudly profess that most Zoomers have a healthy sense of individual responsibility or strong work ethic.
Now, granted, to say that unemployment among young twentysomethings is probably a bit more complex than a generational tendency to embrace pop progressive Marxism, but the correlation simply can’t be ignored.
Values do matter. One of the primary reasons that the prevailing ideology of socialism is so dangerous to our free society is that young people are simply not being instilled with the values of hard work, let alone any sort of understanding of the immense rewards thereof. And how can they learn this if not firsthand, toiling away at a low-level job or staying up late night after night studying working towards a degree or professional certification?
When our young people have been led to believe that financial security is as simple as electing politicians who claim they’re going to fleece the rich so the rest of us can live easy, how can we expect them to have any sense of what it takes to make something of oneself and obtain financial security on their own?
Ironically, these pie-in-the-sky ideals of a society where everyone pays their “fair share” wouldn’t work even if it was remotely plausible to create a publicly funded utopia by taxing the rich if such a high number of young adults aren’t entering or being prepared to enter the workforce down the road.
What we have here is nearly one in five young people who are likely to be lifelong dependents on a system that will only drain resources from those who did make the effort to gain job skills and professional training when they were young.
The saddest part of all, perhaps, is that this is nearly one in five young Americans who are significantly less likely to find satisfaction and fulfillment in life nor a sense of gratification for contributing to society, something which will be as detrimental to our nation as it will be to them personally as they go through life having idled away their formative early adult years.
Far more morally concerning than the economic detriment of unmotivated young adults, our culture of laziness and sloth will only continue to breed dissatisfaction and disappointment among those who can’t be bothered to put in the work while they’re young.
If they are expecting to liberate themselves by casting off responsibility now in the hopes that wealthier Americans will foot the bill, they will be sorely disappointed.
Proverbs 13:4 says that “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich,” while Proverbs 12:24 warns us, “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.”
No one is served by inadequately occupied young adults — least of all the young adults themselves.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.