Recession brings a "Lost Generation"

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - For many living in their 20s and 30s the recession hasn't dealt the best hand. It's a group economist are now calling a "Lost Generation." New census data report released Monday showed just how much the downturn has put a delay on this age group leaving the nest and becoming an adult.

"We are having harder times making our own life," said Sharanda Crews, who is a student at ASU and works in the Dean's Office for College of Communications. She's seen how tough it can be after graduation. "Every year they send out a survey to the graduates to see if they have a job. Some of them it takes a long time or they don't even have a job. They're still working at fast food restaurants because they can't find one in their field," said Crews.

Gary Latanich, a professor of economics at Arkansas State University, says this philosophy of a "lost generation" has left many either unemployed or under-employed.

"If unemployment is rising, where do all these students go? Well, they go back home live with mom," said Latanich. Which according to the report, is exactly what roughly 5.9 million people of this generation will end-up doing. It's something that in-turn puts the brakes on these individuals starting their lives.

"They are going to put off getting married, buying a home, a car, and so the demand we are hoping that will come won't come. So then we sit. Someone's going to have to buy stuff for companies to want to hire," said Latanich.

He says the trend could have long term effects on this age group when it comes to being productive member of society. "You know it's a tough thing right now. Unfortunately, the "lost generation" might be a title that after the fact we refer to as the kids that didn't get jobs until well in their 30s, last 30s maybe, at least good ones," said Latanich.

Ariana Mathis is still making her way through college and says the future is always a concern in the back of her mind. "I have a lot of friend that are working two to three jobs at plants and McDonald's. Yeah it's really hard," said Mathis.

As for Crews, she says it's made her evaluate her future. "It makes us consider more about what we go to college for, because we have to think is this job going to be a good job in 20 years?" said Crews.

Latanich hopes the next election will change things, but says if it doesn't we could be looking into the next decade before things really begin to turn around.

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