Thursday, December 03, 2009

Recession Diaries

Tales of Philly's young, educated and underemployed.

By Daniel Denvir

[Excerpted from the Philadelphia Weekly...]

Twenty- and 30-somethings are heading back to the basement in droves. According to a recent AFL-CIO report, about one in three workers under the age of 35 has been forced to move back in with their parents. Wall Street boosters and politicians may herald an economic recovery (despite the unemployment rate creeping past 10 percent or 17.5 percent if you include the underemployed and those who just gave up looking for work), but it’s more than clear that the so-called comeback has not trickled down to young people, who are more unemployed than at any time since the government started to keep track in 1948.
While people of color and the less educated are getting hit the hardest— 17.1 percent of black males are unemployed—things are quickly deteriorating for the college-educated work force. Experts say that one in five college graduates say they’re overqualified for their current jobs. It’s no surprise that I myself haven’t had the easiest time cobbling together a paycheck given that I’m somewhat blithely walking into a collapsing news industry. Many of my friends, however, young people with bachelors and graduate degrees and more reasonable goals, are struggling, too. Here in Philly, where the unemployment rate is just above the national average (11 percent in September), many of my peers—knocked way off their career paths—are joining countless others working in so-called survival jobs.

Daniel Denvir is a freelance writer independent journalist based in West Philly. He is a contributing writer at the Philadelphia Weekly and more can be found at
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