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The Great (Millennial) Depression

The Great Recession is really the millennial's version of the Great Depression.

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For years, we've heard the same thing from the Obama administration:

"The economy is recovering."

"We've added thousands of jobs to the economy this month."

"More people are working for the first time since the start of the recession."

Whenever I hear these talking points - because let's be honest, that's all they are - I can't help but cringe. Not only are these stats completely falsified, they miss out on one major factor: How this recession is really a depression for millennials.

Photo source: Shutterstock.com Photo source: Shutterstock.com

In order for our economy to truly recover, it’s important that we teach our youth that not every person needs to go to college. What happened to going to a trade school?

Once blue collar jobs, like plumbing and electrical, are now becoming high-paying jobs because of a small pool of qualified employees. The truth is, we need people to unclog our toilets, repair our air conditioning and service our cars. There’s nothing wrong with being in one of those industries. If anything, those industries are more robust and have a stable job market.

So many people I know graduated college and moved right back into their parents house (myself included) because they couldn't afford to live on their own. Even with postgraduate jobs, many recent grads are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

When I graduated college a year ago, I looked far and wide for a job. I was offered jobs all over the country, from Chicago to Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. All of the job offers were ones I would have loved to have pursued. Each one would have taught me different skill sets that are highly valuable.

The problem?

None of the job offers paid enough to afford basic necessities: Rent (yes, even with roommates), utilities and food, let alone additional expenses like student loans and unforeseen emergencies.

Even though it shattered my pride, I decided to turn down those job offers and live with my parents. It didn't make sense to move across country for a job that would eventually put me even further into debt. It took me months but eventually I found a job with a public relations firm. It was divine intervention, really. I was at the right place at the right time. If I didn't stumble into the position, I could very well still be looking.

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Even though my job at the firm doesn't pay me enough to move out of my parents house, I'm lucky to gain the necessary experience to move up in my field. I’m grateful someone was willing to see my potential and take a chance on me. In this economy, employers can choose from the best of the best; they have the upper hand. There is a greater supply than there is demand. This isn’t just in the public relations field but across the board in all sectors.

What’s even worse?

A handful of people I know who graduated within the last few years have had zero luck in their job field. It’s gotten to the point where they quit looking for a job that utilizes their degree. Instead, they’ve taken up waitressing, bartending and retail jobs, the same jobs they had to put themselves through school.

I bring all of this up because my story is like so many my age. It has, unfortunately, become the norm. What the older generation, especially the Baby Boomers, fail to realize is that this “recession” isn’t just a recession for the young. It’s a depression.

People who do the hiring tend to be members of the Baby Boomer generation. Jobs that were once entry-level positions are now being considered mid-level positions, where potential applicants need three to four years of experience. They want employees to have experience but they aren’t willing to take a chance on someone who doesn’t have said experience. How can someone gain experience if employers aren’t willing to hire them? It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Our economy needs employers who are willing to break the “internship cycle,” where college graduates go through three or four unpaid internships before finding a steady, paying job. Internships are important in gaining valuable career and life experience, but employers have taken advantage of the premise of an internship. Interns are now being looked at as “free help” or the “gopher” of organizations. At what point do we value one’s education and experience?

High school graduates would benefit from volunteering with different organizations and causes while attending community college. This would give them the opportunity to explore different interests without taking on the additional burden of student loans. College graduates, myself included, would benefit from looking for obscure jobs, even jobs outside of our field of study. Sometimes the best jobs come out of left field, when and where we least expect it.

Beth Baumann is a Contributor to PolitiChicks and TheBlaze. She is the former Communications Assistant at the American Conservative Union. Twitter: @eb454

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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