89 percent of young people say dismal economy negatively impacts lives

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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They’ve reduced their budgets for entertainment and food, they’ve looked for additional jobs to supplement their income and they’ve skipped vacations and weddings.

Eighty-nine percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 — also known as Millennials — say the dismal economy is impacting their day-to-day lives in a negative way, according to a survey released Wednesday by the group Generation Opportunity.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Paul Conway, the president of the non-profit Generation Opportunity and a former chief of staff at the Labor Department, says the data shows the challenge for President Barack Obama in winning the young voters who backed him in 2008.

“Is the enthusiasm going to be there for President Obama? We don’t think it will be,” he said.

Only 38 percent of those surveyed believe that today’s political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans. But Conway disagreed with the narrative that young voters won’t go to the polls because they’re disaffected, saying the survey shows 76 percent of Millennials intend to vote in the presidential election.

Conway said the youth unemployment rate for 18 to 29-year-olds is 12.7 percent.

The survey indicates that 84 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 either have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to the current state of the economy.

“The impact is felt on a daily basis and on a long term basis, in term of what the economy is doing,” he said.

Thirty-eight percent of Millennials are delaying buying their own place, 32 percent are delaying getting more education or training, 31 percent are delaying starting a family, 26 percent are delaying paying off student loans or other debt and 25 percent are delaying saving for retirement.

Twenty-three percent of young people have delayed getting married, which is 5 percent higher than in April 2011, according to the survey.

As for the 89 percent of Millennials who say the economy is impacting their day-to-day lives, 51 percent have reduced their entertainment budget, 43 percent have reduced their grocery food budget and 43 percent have cut back on gifts for friends and family.

Because of the economy, 17 percent have skipped a wedding, family reunion or other significant social event.

In terms of summer plans, 83 percent of Millenials say the current economic conditions have also made them curb spending: 53 percent have cut back on entertainment and non-essential social spending like nice meals, spa treatments, bars and going to the movies.

The survey said 34 percent have had to skip taking a vacation in the United States and 19 percent have had to skip taking a vacation abroad. Twenty-four percent have had to work all summer without any vacations.

“We think it’s a pretty devastating story in terms of the economic impact,” Conway said.

“We also think it’s a shot across the bow and fair warning to elected officials in both parties that you cannot fail to listen to young adults and you can’t fail to understand at a human level what’s going on in their every day life,” he said.

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