Young Workers: A Lost Decade

Young workers are significantly less likely to have economic security and health care than they were 10 years ago, says a new national survey released by the AFL-CIO.

According to the “Young Workers: A Lost Decade” report, one in three workers 18-35 years old currently live with their parents because they either don’t make enough money to cover their monthly bills, or make just enough with a little to put aside. The study also found that 31 percent of young workers have no health insurance, up from 24 percent in 1999. Of those, 79 percent say they either can’t afford it or their employer doesn’t offer it. Numbers show only a quarter of 18-35 year olds currently belong to a union.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka say the results are unsettling. As part of the federation’s annual Labor Day briefing, the leaders announced plans to make an unprecedented effort to reach out to young workers in the coming months through broad recruitment and training. “Young workers are facing the worst kind of insecurity – struggling to find good jobs and hold down debt while trying to grow into adulthood,” says Trumka. “We owe them better. Unless we change it, their economic standards are going to define a new norm – a norm of lower job and living standards. Their future is our country’s future and we must commit to creating an economy that provides a strong economic future for all.”

To read more about these key findings, click here.