By on May 9, 2013

youthunemployment

 

Yet another bit of bleak data from Europe relating to new car sales. A popular school of thought holds that young people’s aversion to cars is largely rooted in economic factors. When everyone under 30 is broke, living at home and wallowing in student debt, the last thing on their mind is a car. But the hope is that once things turn around, it will be time for Generation Y to get motoring again. At least in North America. Over in Europe (or certain parts of it, at least) things are much more bleak.

Youth unemployment in countries like Greece and Spain are at staggering levels. 54.2 percent of Greek youth are unemployed according to the above chart from The Atlantic. Spain is a little behind – or slightly exceeding Spain, depending on your sources. The situation is less severe in other Eurozone countries, but still bad, as evidence by the figures for France, Ireland and the Eurozone as a whole. Germany remains a standout, as its youth unemployment rate of 8.2 percent is half of the United States’ rate and a third of the Eurozone’s.

As the Atlantic article states, the unemployment crisis has been dragging on for years now, and there appears to be little end in sight. A “lost generation” of workers will of course mean a lost generation of car buyers for Europe’s auto makers. If anyone is buying anything, it’s low cost cars, as evidenced by the astonishing success of brands like Dacia, which have cannibalized sales of Renault in France.

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92 Comments on “Generation Why: Well, At Least We’re Not Europe...”


  • avatar
    wsn

    Given the current state of the economy in Canada, a youth would be unemployed only if:
    1) The person is unwilling to work, OR
    2) The person is unwilling to relocate, OR
    3) The person is still on world trip following college graduation.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “2) The person is unwilling to relocate”

      This is definitely the case. Places like Southwestern Ontario and Newfoundland have the higest unemployment rates in the country. But there are plenty of other places in the country where they can’t find enough workers.

      Generous welfare, unemployment, disability and “second career” re-training programs ensure that anyone who doesn’t want to work or relocate to find work never has to.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        I wouldn’t blame retraining programs. Those are pretty vital to solving part of the problem. Relocation is difficult though. If you don’t have the money to pay for the travel, it can be hard to move. Also, it can be very hard to sell a house and pay for moving a family from an economically hard-hit area (if no one is willing to buy the house, how does the move become possible?)

        Trite slogans and remarks don’t really provide much insight or move discussion on an issue which is pretty complex and which an awful lot of people are trying to create solutions for.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    I wonder if stupid college majors are a world wide epidemic. I know I read an article in the NYT about China and how they had kids with degrees in things like trade show displays – and so they wouldn’t take the now decent paying blue collar jobs and lived off their moms.

    All the baby boomers who spoonfed crap like – “major in what you love” need to be smacked around. Now we have the “occupy wall street” types here in the States. Wall Street pretty much hires any serious degree – like physics, math, computer science etc. But how many of those kids had sociology degrees?

    I don’t care where you live in the States – plenty of jobs available but no one wants the crap service jobs. So the actual problem is at the college level – I think.

    Few americans want to get say engineering degrees because its hard and less fun. But people need to let folks know its a good idea to consider. We have enough lawyers.

    • 0 avatar
      raded

      In the US at least we’ve tied college to self-worth. A 4 year degree has become a necessity when it shouldn’t be. We feed kids the lie that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be and that the path to success starts with college 100% of the time. So we have people racking up 5-6 digits of student loan debt for degrees in Fine Arts.

      People also mistake a college education for job training. We have a dearth of skilled workers because no one goes to trade school and no one wants to do an apprenticeship.

      I don’t know how to fix it. I’d be willing to bet that a solid 50% of people who go straight from high school into a 4 year university would be better off just looking for a job and foregoing a 4 year degree.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        “We feed kids the lie that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be and that the path to success starts with college 100% of the time.”

        This is so true. The other, perhaps more insidious, part of this equation is that recent grads feel entitled to a job that is exciting, fulfilling, and high paying. Statements like “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day” and related pablum have been the mantra for these kids’ entire lives and have poisoned their work ethic.

        I have plenty of friends in their late 20s and early 30s with Philosophy and Arts degrees who are floating along with $10-$12 an hour jobs and occasional cash infusions from parents waiting for that dream job to suddenly materialize. When I suggest that they learn a trade or attend technical college they huff with indignation and swear that an offer to be a highly paid therapeutic interpretative dance instructor is due any minute.

        There are plenty of jobs out there especially in technology; I deal with this shortage every day. The problem is that few young people are willing to suffer enough to learn the skills necessary to reach out and grab them.

      • 0 avatar
        arun

        and college and education should, rightfully, be tied to self-worth…not the only thing, mind you, but is definitely worth being proud of…
        the problem is kids attending college for useless subjects like Fine Arts, not attending college itself..

    • 0 avatar
      Mykl

      Yeah, I think those in my/our generation will be a little more critical when handing over money to the children for the college experience. I’ll help if the degree path will pay out later in life, but not a dime will be spent on a garbage degree. I think there’s also be an under-appreciation for trade schools, an option I know I’ll make sure my kids consider; because not everyone is cut out for college, and that’s fine because it takes all types.

      • 0 avatar
        tpepin

        Agreed, it’s definitely going to be a different thing entirely when my toddlers reach college selection age, we shall see what the future holds.

        However, I believe there needs to be a fundamental change in how we view college vs. non-college “types”

        To say that “Not everyone is cut out for college” infers that the person who’s “not college material” is somehow lesser then someone who is. It attaches a stigma to those who DO go the trade school route, which isn’t good.

        • 0 avatar
          Mykl

          “To say that “Not everyone is cut out for college” infers that the person who’s “not college material” is somehow lesser then someone who is.”

          That’s a great point, maybe we could come up with a better way of wording that. When I say it I certainly don’t mean that one is the lesser of the other.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “the person who’s “not college material” is somehow lesser then someone who is.”

            But…they are.

            We can’t pretend that everyone has an IQ above 100 and can get a hold a decent job in a modern economy if they just tried harder. Many folks are quite limited in their career prospects due to a severly limited amount of cognative ability.

          • 0 avatar
            Mykl

            jmo, the problem is that the ability to get through college does not indicate a higher level of intelligence. Task training at a good technical training school is likely to be just as challenging as the average four year institution.

          • 0 avatar
            azmtbkr81

            Lesser is harsh. I know many people with fairly high IQs (or who are good at faking it) that aren’t cut out for the STEM careers and don’t have the family connections to land a job after graduating with a communications degree. These are the people who are slipping through the cracks.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “Task training at a good technical training school is likely to be just as challenging as the average four year institution.”

            Yes, but someone with an 89 IQ doesn’t have the ability to do that either.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “We can’t pretend that everyone has an IQ above 100 and can get a decent job in a modern economy if they just tried harder.”

            The modern University system sure seems to think so.

            Even getting into a decent college these days is about as hard as getting a loan for a Dodge.

          • 0 avatar
            tpepin

            As already stated the ability to get through college is not the be all end all mark of intelligence, I will grant that there are people out there who are simply not smart enough to survive in today’s economy with anything better than a career slinging fast food or collecting SNAP benefits while stocking shelves at the local ‘mart.

            I will note that we have two programmers at my company with no college degree, one of whom is a high school dropout, they both outperform their (CompSci & CompENG) cohorts by a large margin.

            To the point, my reasoning for proposing a change in discourse is simply to encourage those who aren’t what some would call “book smart” to possibly pursue the trades, rather than attend college and rack up debt for no other reason than “That’s just what you do because you’re a loser if you don’t at least have a BA”.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “Even getting into a decent college these days is about as hard as getting a loan for a Dodge.”

            How are you defining a “decent college”? Even in the 90s, every school except the top 35-40 or so had an acceptance rate of 50% or higher. Even today, when acceptance rates are far lower at the top schools, it’s maybe the top 50 schools that have acceptance rates lower than 50%. The University of Iowa which is ranked in the 50s, for example, has an almost 80% acceptance rate.

            Some of that is self-selection. In Iowa, not everyone takes the ACT or SAT, like they would in more affluent suburban districts. So if you’re applying to the University of Iowa in the first place, you’re probably somewhat motivated.

            Now with all these unaccredited schools, online schools, for-profit schools, there are many more that will accept you for paying the bill. I see those schools as the problem, not the decent ones.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            @corntrollio:

            I’d put schools like University of Iowa in the “decent” category.

            Maybe “these days” was the wrong wording to use. But, I still wonder about increases in overall admission or decreases in academic acceptance standards at the “directional” state schools.

            My comment was more to point out that acting superior to others because you’re in a University system is ridiculous because it isn’t very difficult to get accepted in the first place.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “But, I still wonder about increases in overall admission or decreases in academic acceptance standards at the “directional” state schools.”

            What schools are you talking about that have decreased acceptance standards? Care to give examples? I can look to see if I have old USNews data to compare to current USNews data, but in many cases it would show that the students now have higher grades and higher SAT scores than they did before, and the acceptance rates are much lower at top schools (for example, Harvard’s acceptance rate was probably about 12% in the 90s, but is around 6% now).

            By the way, you can’t look just at acceptance rate for state schools. The acceptance rate at UC Irvine is high because everyone who applies online to Berkeley, UCLA, and UCSD can check the box to apply to Irvine too, but their actual matriculation rate is much lower:

            42,426 applied, 20,672 accepted (49%), 4,584 enrolled 22% –> by comparison, Berkeley’s and UCLA’s is around 40%

            My impression is that there are a lot more junky colleges out there than there used to be — the ones that I mentioned before — the for-profit schools, many unaccredited ones, and the online schools. These are the colleges that are leading the boom in student loan debt. The quality schools are still quality schools.

            Tons of military service members attend crappy online for-profit schools. These places are diploma mills highly dependent on federal funding, but they are for-profit.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I completely agree with your comment “I believe there needs to be a fundamental change in how we view college vs. non-college “types”” and Germany has a good system of trade schools and apprentices which other countries are trying to replicate. There better vocational education system is one reason youth unemployment is much lower than other European countries and the US. There is not as much of a stigma and engineering skills are valued – as witnessed by the very strong German engineering industries (not just automotive).

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          No, not at all. Everyone isnt cut out for college just like everyone isnt cut out for hard labor. People have to find what they are good at. One of, if not the biggest growing field (IT) doesn’t even require a college degree for many of its 6 figure career paths.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      College in the US is pretty much a giant scam these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Mykl

        That may be true, but there are still many companies that won’t hire you to certain positions without a bachelors degree (even if it’s a skill based job that you have experience and an aptitude for)…. or many who will, but will pay you less simply because you lack one. That doesn’t mean you need one to be successful, just that certain career paths more or less require one if only to check a box on your resume.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s a big part of the issue, companies essentially do not want to pay for “training” and have transferred that cost to you the employee. I have two degrees and one thing I have learned in the past eight years is I didn’t know **** about the real IT world coming out of school. Every man in every business essentially serves out an apprenticeship at their first (or even second) job, its just that simple.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Very much agreed. Its probably difficult to pinpoint, but I think it took a major turn in that direction at some point in the mid-90s when alot of the non-college type jobs were first being offshored. Suddenly you’ve got a whole crowd of people in late high school/early college age seeing factories close and folks being laid off thinking “I need to get my butt into school” in order to have a future. Then of course you have a stampede of people who were never in the college pool previously, then suddenly it became “everyone should go to college”.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        This.

        Very few jobs entail making any use of a college degree, much less a liberal arts degree, but they do need workers who aren’t idiots and slobs.

        This used to be demonstrable with a high school degree until we decided that awarding those on merit was racist and turned them into certificates of attendance instead.

        That doesn’t fool employers, who still need to know you aren’t an idiot and slob. A hiring swing and a miss is expensive.

        Enter the college industry, which will gladly provide by the 16th grade what high school used to be able to do at the end of 12th. At the mere cost of another four years of your life and $60,000.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        If they advertise on daytime TV its probably not a great place to go to school

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Right on. Much of todays new working generation feels they should be able to get a gravy job gotten with a gravy degree. When I graduated college the second time, my engineering program had nearly a 90% attrition rate, with at least 60-70% after the first year. Once kids found that engineering wasn’t all building rocketships, they quit and got “easy” degrees.

      Look where we are now. In a recession with high unemployment rates, but there are literally thousands upon thousands of open positions in various technical fields that the companies cannot fill.

      In my last job I was involved in hiring for a technical department of a major OEM. We got applicants, but it was extremely hard to find anyone useful or remotely qualified. And I’m not talking about having the magic degree either. Some of the best people I hired didn’t have the degree HR wanted, but they had the experience to know what they were doing and had the professionalism and the drive to learn.

      All of this is exceedingly rare, and any one who ONLY looks at degree applicants or any one aspect of an applicant will never have a good functioning well staffed team.

      • 0 avatar
        360joules

        It takes a lot to overcome the HR mafia. Kudos to you.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, danio, but the reality is that there aren’t *that* many people without college degrees who would be worth hiring for certain skilled jobs. Yes, everyone can think of that one successful friend or co-worker who has gotten relatively far, despite not having the right degree, but those people are usually the exception, not the rule.

        It’s pretty obvious that people who aren’t motivated and don’t belong in college shouldn’t go to college. The problem is not that people are art history majors, but that people who are unmotivated to begin with walk around half-asleep in college and end up with a degree in art history out by taking the path of least resistance.

        Meanwhile, I had a friend who wanted to work in museums who was an art history major and now works at museums in NY. This friend was motivated, unlike the shlubs some of you are talking about. Similarly, I know sociology majors who got PhDs and now teach. Again, motivated.

        The reality is that the vast majority of people with marketable skills did go to college, and companies are simply trying to short-cut the hiring process by saying there are certain degree requirements. It’s just a proxy for finding motivated people. It is very expensive to hire people, and it takes a lot of time to find good candidates, so I do understand where they’re going with this.

        Does that mean they’ll miss a few good candidates that don’t meet degree requirements? Some companies will, sure, but not everyone. Let’s not pretend that every hobo off the street is one of these people — there are very few of them out there.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          No one is pretending that, unless you consider people who are motivated, skilled, but degree-less some kind of underclass hobos. Nowhere did I state or otherwise imply that these kind of people were easy to come by.

          The point was the degree wasn’t the primary indicator for us as hiring managers, but it was for HR whom we had to circumvent to get the people we needed.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “We can’t pretend that everyone has an IQ above 100 and can get a hold a decent job in a modern economy if they just tried harder. Many folks are quite limited in their career prospects due to a severly limited amount of cognative ability.”

      And yet the subprime education loan industry will finance anyone with or maybe even without a pulse.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Even liberal politicians like Daniel Patrick Moynihan knew that the subsidized/guaranteed loan program would cause a clusterf*ck:

        “Soon after his study was completed, Carrington told the task force, he had a chance encounter at O’Hare International Airport with Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then a White House staffer. Moynihan observed that the guaranteed student loan program was ‘a national disaster’ that would drive tuition through the roof, causing higher education to get drunk on borrowed student money.”

        Link 1

        Biden admits that subsidized/guaranteed loans have increased tuition:

        Link 2

        One of the terms used for the basic, economically sound idea that colleges will screw students for all that they can borrow is the Bennett Hypothesis, here is some additional background on it:

        Link 3

        I am more liberal that most commentators on TTAC, but there is a lot of disgusting hypocrisy among some liberals. For example, wealthy liberal college professors turning middle class students into indentured servants through massive student loans that fund those professors, and other college administrators’ (Google university president salary) lavish lifestyles. Corporate CEOs might underpay people, but they don’t steal borrowed money from young people that cannot afford to repay it (ok, unless they are the CEOs of for-profit colleges, e.g. University of Phoenix, Capella University or The Art Institutes – the biggest young people screwing scumbags).

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Link 1

        http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/task_force_collects_ideas_on_legal_education_reform/

        Link 2

        http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/02/06/biden_admits_government_subsidies_have_increased_college_tuition.html

        Link 3

        http://centerforcollegeaffordability.org/archives/9494

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      I don’t know what you consider to be ‘stupid college majors’. Most university students are enrolled in practical majors. Of the top 10 most popular majors, only 1 is a liberal arts one- that one being english. I think we can all agree that english is a worthwhile major and that there is a constant demand for school teachers with english majors.

      Also- the major with the worst employment prospects is not a liberal arts one. It is architecture. I think we can once again agree that architecture is a worthwhile study which is not frivolous.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Regarding “stupid college majors” in China (and other countries), it really has a very complex social background.

      1) We have to admit that human are not created equal. Not everyone can be Mozart. A lot of the kids will become farmers (Chinese style) and low level workers. Typically a high school diploma should be enough.

      2) But no, they aspire to a better life. The kind of life previous college graduates had. The kids and the parents conveniently ignored the fact that those previous graduates were at the top 5% of the crop.

      3) Colleges seized the chance and accept students of lower qualifications just to make money.

      4) Now 80% of all kids go to college instead of 5%.

      5) Nothing is really changed other than that they have delayed the inevitable for 4~8 years. Now they are going to be a janitor with a Ph.D degree.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Unemployment statistics are unreliable because they are based on people actually applying for unemployment benefits. Umemployment statistics are not based on people not being able to get jobs, or good jobs. Here are some notes on calculation in Europe (the US is similar):

    http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/2002/02/feature/es0202214f.htm

    There are differences between Mexico and Spain that make the labor market less efficient, like higher minimum wages and stronger labor unions in Spain. Basically in Spain employeers cannot pay low enough to match many young peoples’ skills. Worse yet, labor unions and oppressive employment laws make it impossible for European companies to let go crappy older workers to room for young job entrants.

    But in large part the difference is that Spain offers much higher, and longer unemployment benefits, so it ends up with more people “unemployed” when unemployment is measured by actively registering for unemployment benefits. Don’t be fooled by the green line, Mexico is not a great place to be a young person looking for a job.

    The downward trend in the German unemployment rate is not due to the Germany economy providing jobs, or particularly providing jobs to young people, but due to the Germans kicking young people off unemployment, so that they are no longer “unemployed”:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/01/germany-hartz-reforms-inequality

    No matter how you feel about the political issues this chart is absolutely meaningless.

    Also, if you qualify for unemployment benefits take them. Otherwise you just count as having given up. I know a lot of young people that stupidly do not apply for benefits. Having laid-off employees on unemployment hits companies on unemployment insurance, so if companies are re-hiring they are going to rehire the people on unemployment first, not the “stoic” jackasses that cost the company nothing to keep laid-off.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      This is a common misconception. In the US, the unemployment figure is not tied to how many people are receiving unemployment benefits. The unemployment number is arrived at through independent surveys which have nothing to do with how many people are receiving unemployment.

      Read here:
      http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm

      The BLS explains how they calaculate the unemployment figure.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Also, you can use the statistics in the BLS report to see the proportion of adults who are working.

        I managed to turn one of conservative classmates assumptions on his head by showing him that report. “The government only wants you to know the unemployment rate, and not about discouraged workers.”. “Dude, this is the same government report that the reporters and economists all read, and the numbers are right here! The media usually just glosses over this, because we just had a 10 minute conversation interpreting the numbers.” He must have been blanked out when our econ professor filled us in….

        One surprise to him is that only about half of the adult population is working. That includes stay-at-home parents, retired people, and the unemployable. The statistics are both wildly better and worse than what his lunch buddies imagined, and he was captivated by what could be accomplished economically if all of these people would (re)join the workforce.

        It sounded like he was going to have some fun bringing real data to his conservative lunch buddies. I’ll be interested to hear what they come up with!

        On the other hand, neither of us really think our retired dads are really going back to work.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Interesting, that means that, despite the US having lower official unemployment rate than most of Europe, the US is measuring unemployment in a way that is broader than the European measurement.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Your unemployment chart really only shows 3 stinkers that have changed significantly over the last 8 years (Greece, Spain, Ireland); everybody else is about the same, including ‘the Eurozone’.

    And if I look at today’s TTAC story on Alfa Romeo in Europe, there is no clear indication that cheap cars are doing better – JLR is up 13% and Skoda is down 6%.

    So I’m not sure there’s a linkage.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Those stinkers flatten the rest of the graph and distort how much the other countries have actually changed. The US, for example, has gone from 10% to 19% and is now falling back around 16%, based purely on the graph; it doesn’t look as bad when you have Greece and Spain above it, but a near-doubling of youth unemployment is a pretty significant shift.

      And if anything, this probably understates the severity of the situation, as it doesn’t show the reduced pay, prospects and qualification requirements of those lucky enough to actually have a job. I have clients who were psych majors in college who are now managing directors at investment banks; today’s psych majors, if they’re lucky enough to find a job at all, are probably more likely to be working retail.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        My point was that except for those 3, everybody else is moving in concert. Saying “we’re not Europe” doesn’t really mean much when nearly everybody else rose and fell with the economy in the same fashion.

        But I’ll give you that merely having a job means less than it used to. Standards of living are decreasing for many people.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    German youth employment is higher because they do what we refuse to: give students useful, real world-applicable skills without a college degree. Their pragmatism in dividing students based on ability into different career tracks wrankles the noses of the American education establishment: everyone needs to go to college! You can’t possibly single out people because it’ll hurt their feelings!

    And despite the reputation of German unions, one of the biggest reasons German companies have succeded in the past decade is the loosening of labor laws. Manufacturers and suppliers now employ a huge number of cheaper contract workers.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      “Manufacturers and suppliers now employ a huge number of cheaper contract workers.”

      You have just explained the real reason for low German unemployment. Germany let companies pay people less, so companies hired more people. That is basic economics. But it also means that you cannot compare the old German unemployment rate and the new German unemployment rate because under the old German unemployment rate the people that were employed had better jobs.

      I agree with the German policy. Basic assembly jobs should be contract jobs, not jobs for life. No jobs should be jobs guaranteed for life. But let’s not lie by implying that Germany created good jobs for its youth. Instead Germany changed the law to allow German youth to take crappy jobs. The German youth that could not get crappy jobs were then kicked off unemployment so that they no longer count as unemployed.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    as a culture we do not value people who work with their hands to create or fix things as much as we value the medical, legal, and engineering professions.

    it is a pity because it is a very precise way of thinking, that has all the hallmarks of the scientific method.

    note i am making a distinction between a creater and problem solver and not someone who works as unskilled labor.

    creative, problem solvers are smart. i dont care where they work or what their task is. the fact that they did not go to college or university is of no matter.

    in the 1970′s my uncle told me only two types of people work on the line; those who have to think about what they are doing all the time and those who can do what they are expected to do while thinking about everything else. the group in the middle goes crazy.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I understand your sentiment, but most people really want to know that their doctor, lawyer, and engineer got the book knowledge to solve the problem they’re facing.

      You want your doctor to be legit when he cuts you open. You want your lawyer to be able to grill lying witnesses who testify against you. You want to know the bridge you’re crossing was analyzed by an engineer who know’s what he’s doing with metallurgy.

      These details matter, and that’s what people pay for when they hire these professionals.

      This isn’t to demean the blue collar worker’s value. But you want the professional to be paid more, or else you won’t get any more professionals.

  • avatar
    Onus

    I’m 20. I went to community college. I hold a degree in Computer Network Technology. I should be starting my first real full time job soon. It pays good and i have no college debt.

    I had a real job before for the last 5 years doing the same stuff. Fixing computers, networks, servers, etc. I started my previous job in my second year of high schools. Its been a great help. I got that job and i wasn’t even looking but its been a great help.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      “I went to community college.”

      Smart man. Community colleges are and have been a tremendous bargain.

      Just make sure you vote for politicians who will safeguard this institution, and vote against those who are carrying water for the for-profit universities.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        I’m with you on that. Actually this year the State Governor is raising tuition for in state students while decreasing it for out of state students.

        Out of state students pay double but it is still sad. Who would want to go out of state to community college. Here in the northeast nearly every state has a good community college system. I do think Connecticut has one of the best non the less but you have many many good choices.

    • 0 avatar
      Sgt Beavis

      *golf clap*

      You’re doing it right kid.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Can’t speak about Europe, which generally has a more developed public transportation infrastructure and a higher population density. But here in the U.S. one reason to buy a car is because you have a job and you need to get back and forth to work. It is a chicken-and-egg problem for people with no money for a car: the lack of a car excludes them from lots of work — because of on-time arrival issues — but until they get a job, they can’t buy a car. I was fortunate. When I graduated college I had no car and no money, but I could live somewhere where I could take the bus to work. After I had saved up some money, I bought an inexpensive used car.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I’ve seen many people like that on the bus in my days of taking public transportation. Many can’t even afford to move closer. Or people talking of commuting for hours! Insane.

      I’ve never waited more than 5 – 10 minutes anywhere i have gone in Europe. I wish i could say the same for here.

  • avatar
    walker42

    The unemployment rate in Mexico is damn impressive.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I don’t know what’s at the bottom of the disinterest of the young in cars, or that its even a problem; tastes and interests change. But yes, surplus income is necessary for a vibrant car culture.

    One thing we could do: Limit H1B visas for skilled workers. The current propaganda is that this is a way to bring great thinkers to our country. The reality is that this is a way to limit the income of non-supervisory engineers and other technical workers to a little over $100K. The plutocrats are therefore enthusiastically supporting this part of immigration reform. Were it me, I’d say that they can have all the H1B visas they want–at 30% over the prevailing wage. Engineering school suddenly looks considerably more attractive.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know who’s feeding you lies about technical workers, but senior “non-supervisory” engineers are paid way more than $100k in most companies. My first salary on H-1B was $75k in 1990s dollars. The truth is that H-1B workers are already expensive beyond your wild dreams of 30% premium. And that’s even before the overhead for the attorneys is accounted.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Smart Phones, constant texting, and net surfing are main reasons teens don’t want to drive, at all.

    Generations before had more interest in going places, and owning a car to get around was a status symbol. Now, it’s having a high number of internet “friends” to text.

    Cars are now more expensive, too. Kids don’t want to spend time or money getting an old one to fix up. They got parents to drop them off wherever. And, with smart phones, there is no need to go anywhere.

  • avatar

    don’t kid yourself. there’s hardly a kid in this country who wouldn’t trade a keypad for a set of keys.

  • avatar
    zinnah

    Yes Tesla is absolutely confounding, as is California. I live there and have seen many Teslas, they are absolutely gorgeous, the 99 rating from Consumer Reports shows the beauty is deep, an extraordinary and iconic car has been produced, it is amazing the snark and dissing that emerges from a supposedly cutting edge car blog. The Tesla should be celebrated, a upstart company in a brutal industry that looks like it could really succeed. Yes it has been subsidized, but many companies and industries in their infancy are nurtured, many fail, but enough succeed to be transformational.

    As much as anything it is the success of the entrepreneur, Elon Musk, also the CEO of Space X a private space exploration company sending supplies to the International Space Station, that should be touted by the conservatives posting here.

    I live in the northern CA wine country where Teslas are often seen cruising and I am frustrated as are many by the the restrictive government policies, cost of living and high taxes, and yet, with all that, the economy is hot here, properties can have 30 offers, and business want to start and locate here. All this is contrary to the narrative of the conservative opposition. In many ways I am sympathetic to this opposition, but California’s experience demonstrates that simplistic economic theories rarely describe reality.

    I have ridden in, but did not drive, the Tesla roadster, really amazing, supposedly 25% of those who test drive the Tesla buy it. My wife and I are afraid to test one, lest we buy one, we could afford it, but it would be a stretch. A friend is getting a model S, we might hit him up for a test drive or ride. We might be part of the vanguard, or end up in the dustbin, but like Elon Musk, those are the chances you take.

    And, yes, I hope the technology filters down to more affordable mass appeal cars. That is the way of new technologies, remember when flat screen tv’s cost $10-15,000? For now celebrate what has been achieved by the vision of Elon Musk who could well live in the panoply of giants such as Edison. BTW, Elon Musk is an immigrant, further confounding the haters. In the anti immigration hysteria many highly skilled, educated, and energetic immigrants are denied entry o the USA, thereby denying the USA the benefit of and the source of part of the dynamism of the economy.

  • avatar
    TW4

    The problem in the US is pretty straight forward. We have “stay in school” culture.

    While “stay in school” seems like a good message on the surface, we are actually teaching people not to bother with a career until after their schooling is complete. “Experts” throw around a bunch of scary statistics about mediocre pay, and about the reduced likelihood of collegiate graduation if a full-time career is started after high school. The solution, they claim, is to postpone career work until you are 25-30, and borrow money to obtain degrees now. We end up with a society of relatively worthless academics with very little real world experience and lots of debt.

    You should start working as many hours as you can handle at 14-15, and work on creating a marketable skill set. If you go to college, work full time or nearly full time. The tweed-swaddled university academics you employ should be educating you on a schedule that is compatible with student occupations, not some arcane schedule that is patterned around faculty coffee breaks and research meetings.

    Why don’t we do things this way? b/c our culture, which really couldn’t care less about young people, decided that it was better to have no work experience and higher GPA, than marketable skills and average grades. Since clothing, feeding, and housing yourself requires funding, which necessitates paid occupation (not educational training), the people who subscribe to this culture are your sworn enemies. Tie them to the nearest telephone pole, blind fold them, and call in an air strike.

    The most egregious offenders, of course, are America’s corporations, who frequently put academic signaling (school name, degree, Greek society, etc) and GPA above bulletproof resumes and work experience. Everyone suffers…….except the academics, school administrators, lending companies, and educational bureaucrats.

    Who would have guessed they’d create a culture that focuses on what they want, regardless of how irrelevant it may be to real life?

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      My wife and I knew a “career student” a few years ago. She had a state job, which was good. But she was constantly in school even though she was in her mid 20s at the time. I can’t imagine how much loan debt she would have had, but it was apparently a significant amount.

      I went to community college in Ontario for IT and then moved to the US about a year after I was done with it. About 2 weeks after the INS gave me work authorization, I got a job doing support at an ISP, then moved to IT in a bank, then to some non-profits. As it is now I’m a department of 1 doing IT and I’m happy with where I’m at. More money would be great, but with more money comes more stress. I refer to myself as a computer sitter because I don’t do much of anything most days aside from addressing small problems. But I’m appreciative of my job and people like me. My education cost less than $10000 and that included buying an expensive laptop in 1998.

      There was a story on the NBC news recently talking about the cost of a 4 year education at a US college vs going to a Canadian University (McGill was featured). I couldn’t believe how expensive it is to do a 4 year degree in the US. So these kids go to college, spend a bunch of money to get a piece of paper, and most of the time they can’t get a decent job to paid off the mountain of debt they’ve accrued.

      Community College or skilled trades should be pushed more. It’s not all morons that go into skilled trades. People can do well in the trades and you don’t have to sit at a desk all day.

      Seems like a lot of kids these days only know how to text/use Facebook and never get a chance to change oil or fix things around the house because they either don’t have a parental figure to pass down their knowledge, don’t offer the proper classes any longer in school that would teach those skills, or else kids have no drive to do those things. I loved every minute of my shop classes in high school. They taught useful life skills to fall back on even though I went into IT. As a result of those classes I do 90% of my own vehicle maintenance and probably 95% of my home maintenance. Sorry for the rant, but skilled trades and basic knowledge of things you deal with every day are a necessity in life and if they’re not being taught any longer or encouraged, we’re all screwed.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “The most egregious offenders, of course, are America’s corporations, who frequently put academic signaling (school name, degree, Greek society, etc) and GPA above bulletproof resumes and work experience.”

      Based on my experience in hiring, I’ve never seen anyone put academic signaling and GPA above bulletproof resumes and work experience, as you claim. Relevant work experience is always most relevant. If you have two candidates that are extremely similar in work experience, you may use academic signaling and GPA as a tiebreaker, but it’s rare that you get two candidates with the same work experience.

      There’s a lot of strawman non-sense going on in this thread.

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

        We have entire sectors of the US economy that extend auto-hire and signing bonuses to recent grads who earn degrees from certain schools with certain gpa’s and participation in certain organizations. Some institutions offer the same for students who remain enrolled in continuing academics while starting their post-graduation career. I’m sure the economy has brought many of these programs to a halt, but rest assured, they will resume when unemployment figures decline substantially. These paradigms are the reason we have a mismatch between youth services and corporate labor demand, and it is the reason for our soaring unemployment/underemployment youth rates.

        Five years after a student graduates, few people really care where they went to school or what grades they earned, but we aren’t talking about 5 years down the road.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “Five years after a student graduates, few people really care where they went to school or what grades they earned, but we aren’t talking about 5 years down the road.”

          Exactly, which is what I was saying — people who hire actually look at work experience. At best it’s a tie-breaker if you have two or more equally good candidates.

          For almost any job, if you have prior experience in a field, you will have a leg up over other candidates.

          “We have entire sectors of the US economy that extend auto-hire and signing bonuses to recent grads who earn degrees from certain schools with certain gpa’s and participation in certain organizations.”

          What jobs are these? I’m not aware of them, but maybe I should be.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Calling something a “strawman” is your favorite strawman.

  • avatar
    Sooke

    If we got rid of minimum wage laws, unemployment would disappear.

    Instead of workers competing for jobs, employers would compete for workers.

  • avatar
    Speedster356

    Statistics do not always depict the truth.

    Car ownership does not always mean the same in all countries and cultures.

    Parents will often actually buy a (new) car for their kids once the turn 18. This means that the car is paid by the parents and that it is registered to the parents, despite the fact that it is many times used exclusively by the kids.

    Also the tax regime here makes it simpler for most people to register their cars in their parents.

    I bought my 2007 VW EOS 1.6 FSI new with my money but found it less complicated to register it to my mother.
    I also use for work a 2010 Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI that my dad paid and registered (That replaced the 1993 Opel Astra 1.4 GT my parents got me as a first car).

    I am 38, single, with 2 jobs and still find it less complex to register my cars to my parents. I am not exactly a characteristic case here, but most young drivers under 30 do not actually own on paper their ride.

  • avatar
    Sgt Beavis

    I find this conversation interesting but I’m keeping an eye on whether or not the youth in those countries start to organize. A very large demographic with little hope is fuse waiting to be lit. Armed revolution is very much possible.

    The Occupy Movement in the US was a small example but as noted in the numbers, the number of unemployed youth here are not nearly large as in Greece or Italy. Occupy also marginalized itself through its actions. If they had done it right, they would have had a chance.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The difference between Europe and the US is that in the US there are job opportunities for the young people that could effectively lead a movement, so you don’t get effective movements. In Europe, especially the PIIGS, that is not the case, so you get movements led by smart, effective people that have no other opportunity. Not necessarily movements for the right reasons. But powerful movements. That’s not to say that things are not bad in the US, but that they are not bad enough, yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      Isn’t it ironic?

      With Europe about to debut its first failed states, Germany could up another Israel surrounded by them.

    • 0 avatar

      not much chance of any armed revolution succeeding, nor is it necessary. what will work is winning hearts and minds through education by sharing information. then we will have rEVOLution.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        Until hearts & minds can suppress the reproductive system, I don’t see a lot of hope. European demos may be in permanent decline, but look who’s knocking on Italy’s back door.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “but look who’s knocking on Italy’s back door.”

          I believe Silvio Berlusconi may have knocked on quite a few of them during his “bunga-bunga” parties.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I had similar thoughts when I saw the chart, and I could see smaller or more stability-adverse nations like Greece in an eventual old school youth revolt. In the US I see it as less likely, here we’ll see not a revolution but a slow collapse into region-states followed by potential anarchy in some places (for a period). Re-feudalism.


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