New study shows recession worrying Millennials

From St. Norbert College, October 12, 2012
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, 920-403-3089

Millennials are increasingly worried about their personal financial situation.

The Measure of Millennials--a newly-release study from the iOme Challenge-- reveals that 58% of the Millennial generation is very concerned about its financial situation; that's up 12 points from last year.

"Unemployment has hit the young very hard," said David Wegge of the Strategic Research Institute at St. Norbert College. "Unemployment is much higher among Millennials and not having a job naturally has a direct impact on personal finance. The Great Recession is indeed taking its toll on Millennials."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment is 22.7% for 18-19 year olds and 13.9% for 20-24 year-olds. In addition to the 58% of Millennials who are very concerned about their personal financial situation, 23% are moderately concerned, and 12% are somewhat concerned. Five percent were not at all concerned, and the rest were not sure.

More Millennials say they are worse off this year than they were last year, yet they remain optimistic about next year: 48% say they will be better off next year (12% say worse off).

While Millennials have become more concerned about their personal financial situation, their concern about the financial situation of their country remains unchanged from last year's iOme Challenge study: 45% are still very concerned; 30% are moderately concerned; and 17% are somewhat concerned.

Most Millennials have some level of confidence that Washington will be able to solve the country's financial problems, but 33% are not at all Confident and 10% are not sure. Sixty percent have some degree of confidence in the Democrats in Congress to solve the problems; 26% are not at all confident, and 16% are not sure. Confidence in the Republicans is weaker.

In the upcoming presidential election President Obama receives substantial support among Millennials with 55% of likely Millennial voters saying they would vote for Obama; 37% would vote for Romney. Eight percent say they would vote for someone else.

Adi Redzic is a Millennial; he's also managing director of the iOme Challenge -- a national organization that engages young people to think about their future finances. "In our study, Millennials are expressing their concern for the future," Redzic said. "Compared to last year, Millennials are much more concerned about their finances and this trend isn't good."

Even though Millennials said they're confident they'll be better off next year, their minimal impact in Washington and low levels of trust make it hard to maintain that optimism. "It's sort of a vicious cycle," Redzic said. "The more we feel our impact is minimal, the lower our trust goes -- and the trend continues. Fortunately, we seem to continue to maintain our hopefulness for the future and the willingness to work hard to make things happen … we have to."

An executive summary of the results of the "Measure of Millennials" survey can be found at: http://iomechallenge.org/gen-y-survey12/

Media: David Wegge, Chair, iOme Challenge and Executive Director of the Strategic Research Institute at St. Norbert College, is available for interviews upon request. Contact Wegge at 920-403-3080 or dave.wegge@snc.edu