Jessica: Hey, guys! We have been talking a lot about what you are going to do when you get into the real world. Well, how does free food, no rent, and your own private room sound? Like an ideal living situation right? But living at home is not the first choice for many young adults. Yet as you are about to see, most have no other choice.
When the disco ball lights up at Joe’s Crab Shack near Philadelphia, Kim Young joins the rest of the waiters in a dance. It is a job requirement. But since this is not her ideal job, Kim doesn’t feel like dancing.
Kim Young: I honestly thought right away I was going to get something in my field.
Jessica: Kim’s field is graphic design. The recent college grad says she has explored at least 150 job leads in her field with no luck. So, she works at the restaurant in the meantime earning about $65 a week.
Kim: Oh my god! It’s almost like…it’s almost like my soul is being sucked out.
Jessica: Kim is one of nearly 6 million young adults now living at home with a parent for financial reasons. That is up 25% since the recession started in 2007. And living at home as an adult isn’t the same as living at home as a teen — something Kim realized when she moved back.
Kim: We were both, like, headstrong, like fighting all the time and not getting along. But I think they finally realized, ‘we no longer have a teenager living here.’ It’s now just one of us.
Katherine Kim: I’d go out there and network for her if I could or I’d go out with a sign saying, ‘My child needs a job in advertising or any field in the arts.’ And nothing.
Jessica: Kim’s mom, Katherine, had to take a night job to help support her daughter. Katherine is worried about the pressure and stress of the job search on Kim.
Katherine: I’m sorry I’m getting emotional but it’s hard. Really, really hard.
“It’s time to put america’s youth back to work.”
Jessica: Professor Andrew Sum, of Boston’s Northeastern University, says that the growing number of young grads living at home has serious consequencies for the overall economy. Currently, the unemployment rate for young people is 14.2%, much higher than the national rate of 8.6%.
Professor Andrew Sum: If you don’t go out and form new households, then the demand for new homes goes down. So, that hurts the construction industry. You also have less spending by these young adults, so as a result the aggregate economy slows down.
Jessica: Kim still hopes that she will be able to find her perfect job, and soon.
Kim: I want a job that I can show that I am talented, that my talent isn’t going to waste and I want to be able to support myself and be able to support my family down the line.
- Can you think of other ways that living at home negatively affects the overall economy?