Hanging by a thread

There's another reason young people keep "Struggling for Work" as reported in Sunday's  Inquirer. It's because they aren't so attached to the labor market in the first place.

"There's a difference between young workers and old workers," said Shigeru Fujita, a senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. "If you are old, it’s most likely that you have found what you like – meaning you already have a good match between you and your employer, so you are less likely to be losing a job during the recession."

"It is true the older workers are having a hard time finding a job, but the probability of losing a job is lower," he said. 

Young workers, he said, may not have found the work they like or the work that suits them. They may have had fewer years to form connections with employers or companies. All that hurts during a recession, and it particularly hurts when they are trying to find their first jobs.

A lot of it, unfortunately, is a matter of luck, Fujita said. 

"You happen to be born in a certain year and you just come out of college in a difficult year," he said. "That's the reality. The only thing you can do is to train yourself more, go to school and work hard. The recession years are going to be gone at some point. But when you go into the labor market [the recession] will hurt your lifetime income by a certain amount, because it takes a period of time to establish a relationship with certain industries, occupations, or employers."

Tomorrow: Winnie's LeBus -- sheltered workshop for under-employed.

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