Recession Formative to Millennials
February 14, 2012
Given the depth of the Great Recession and its enduring effects on the economy, it’s always seemed likely that it would be a formative experience for Millennials. Formative experiences occur in a generation’s youth and often come in the form of drastic economic and cultural upheavals. The Great Recession fits that description for Millennials and a recent Pew survey confirms that it is shaping their outlook for years to come.
According to the survey, Millennials see their own generation as hardest-hit by the downturn. Most other generations agree. Only 20% report themselves “very satisfied” with their economic condition and only one-third would describe their finances as “good” or better (compared with one-half in 2004). And the recession is affecting their life choices: 35% report going back to school because of the economy, 24% report moving back in with their parents, and over 20% report postponing marriage and family for economic reasons.
Millennials see their path as more difficult because of the recession, saying it will be more difficult for them than it was for their parents to find a job (82%), save money (75%), pay for college (70%), and buy a home (69%). It’s also affected their view of their current employment, with 69% saying it was a “stepping stone” or “just a job” rather than a career. They now rate “job security” ahead of salary in employment priorities.
Still, true to form, Millennials have remained optimistic about their long-term future - close to 60% believe they’ll eventually earn enough to be better off even if they don’t now.