Millennial Unemployment Rate at 11.8 Percent in September

Statement by Generation Opportunity President and former US Department of Labor Chief of Staff Paul T. Conway on youth unemployment

New polling shows 76% of young Americans plan to vote and only 29% say current economic policies coming out of Washington are helping them

Young Americans Suffer 11.8 Percent Unemployment (Photo: Business Wire)

WASHINGTON--()--Generation Opportunity, the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization in the United States engaging and mobilizing young Americans on the important economic issues facing the nation, announced non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) 18-29 unemployment rate data for September 2012:

  • The youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds specifically for September 2012 is 11.8 percent (NSA).
  • The youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans for September 2012 is 21.0 percent (NSA); the youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics for September 2012 is 12.1 percent (NSA); and the youth unemployment rate for 18–29 year old women for September 2012 is 11.6 percent (NSA).
  • The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.7 million young adults that are not counted as "unemployed" by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.
  • If the labor force participation rate were factored into the 18-29 youth unemployment calculation, the actual 18-29-unemployment rate would rise to 16.6 percent (NSA).

Generation Opportunity President Paul T. Conway, former Chief of Staff of the United States Department of Labor and former Chief of Staff of the United States Office of Personnel Management, issued the following statement in response to the September 2012 jobs numbers:

“11.8 percent of young Americans are now unemployed through no fault of their own and more still are falling out of the workforce due to an historic lack of opportunity. These numbers tell a devastating story – a story we cannot afford to ignore or hope away. The risk is far too high, as the promise of America is slipping past an entire generation. As fellow citizens, we have an obligation to act, to create opportunity, and to offer real hope and independence to young Americans.

“What adds to the gravity of today’s report is the current administration’s casual dismissal of the facts and their stubborn insistence on moving forward with the same policies of the last three-and-a-half years regardless of the consequences.

“Young Americans know this is not fair, and they are asking why the White House continues to push policies that are moving them backward. They want solutions, not slogans, not excuses, not empty promises. As young Americans watch the candidates lay out their plans and prepare to vote this November, they are making up their minds based on issues and who lays out the best plan for the economy, to create jobs, and allow the growth of opportunity so they can fulfill their hopes and dreams for the future. As the election nears, we continue to encourage all young Americans not yet registered to vote, to register now, while they still have time.”

Generation Opportunity is encouraging its four million Facebook fans, as well as its thousands of grassroots supporters across the nation, to register to vote and to register friends and family to vote. Using the tag line – “We Can Do Better, the Future Depends on You, GO Register to Vote” – the group is urging its supporters to demand that the policies of the last three and a half years, which have stifled job creation, be reversed in favor of policies that free up Americans to create jobs, to hire, and to restore the American tradition of access to opportunity for all.

For Generation Opportunity, the polling company, inc./WomanTrend conducted a nationwide online survey of 1,003 adults ages 18-29 between July 27 and July 31, 2012. Randomly selected online opt-in panel participants were sent an invitation to the survey via email which included a secure link to the online questionnaire. Quotas were used to ensure the survey was representative of the larger 18-29 year old nationwide population with regard to race, region, and gender. The data were NOT weighted. The overall sampling margin of error for the survey is ±3.1% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that the data obtained would not differ more than 3.1 percentage points in 95 out of 100 similar samples obtained.

  • 76% of Millennials plan to vote in the election for President this year.
  • 29% of Millennials believe that the economic policies coming out of Washington are helping them, while 47% of Millennials say that the economic policies coming out of Washington are hurting them.
  • Only 38% believe that today’s political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans.
  • 89% of young people ages 18-29 say the current state of the economy is impacting their day-to-day lives (Accepted multiple responses) (Randomized):
    • 51% reduced their entertainment budget;
    • 43% reduced their grocery/food budget;
    • 43% cut back on gifts for friends and family;
    • 40% skipped a vacation;
    • 38% driven less;
    • 36% taken active steps to reduce home energy costs;
    • 32% tried to find an additional job;
    • 27% sold personal items or property (cars, electronic appliances, or other possessions);
    • 26% changed their living situation (moved in with family, taken extra roommates, downgraded apartment or home);
    • 17% skipped a wedding, family reunion, or other significant social event;
    • 1% other;
    • 8% none of the above (accepted only this response);
    • 3% do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
  • 84% of young people ages 18-29 had planned to but now might delay or not make at all a major life change or move forward on a major purchase due to the current state of the economy (Accepted multiple responses) (Randomized):
    • 38% buy their own place;
    • 32% go back to school/getting more education or training;
    • 31% start a family;
    • 27% change jobs/cities;
    • 26% pay off student loans or other debt;
    • 25% save for retirement;
    • 23% get married;
    • 12% none of the above (accepted only this response);
    • 4% do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
  • 76% believe that the lack of job opportunities is shrinking the American middle class.
  • 64% of young people ages 18-29 believe the availability of more quality, full-time jobs upon graduation is more important than lower student loan interest rates.
  • 61% of Millennials say the availability of more quality, full-time jobs with health insurance plans is more important than the ability to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they are 26.


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 by GO,” “The Constitution by GO,” “Gas Prices Are Too Damn High,” “Lower Taxes by GO,” “Keep Texas Awesome,” “Jersey Proud,” and “We Like Small Government” on Facebook – have amassed a total fan base of more than 4 million. The pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal Government 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 by GO” on Facebook here, “The Constitution by GO” on Facebook here, “Gas Prices Are Too Damn High” on Facebook here, “Lower Taxes by GO” on Facebook here, “Keep Texas Awesome” on Facebook here, “Jersey Proud” on Facebook here, and “We Like Small Government” on Facebook here.

For our Spanish-language page – Generación Oportunidad – click here.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:


Generation Opportunity
Matthew Faraci, 202-997-1636
David Pasch, 202-230-7947


Generation Opportunity
Matthew Faraci, 202-997-1636
David Pasch, 202-230-7947