The news ain't good. An AFL-CIO-commissioned study has found that young workers (18-35) face low wages, inadequate health insurance, and minimal chances of retirement benefits for at least the next decade. “Young Workers: A Lost Decade" derives from a July survey of 1,156 people conducted by the Peter D. Hart Research Associates. The study is available here and these are some of its more striking findings:
* 31 percent of young workers report being uninsured, up from 24 percent 10 years ago, and 79 percent of the uninsured say they don’t have coverage because they can’t afford it or their employer does not offer it.
* Strikingly, one in three young workers are currently living at home with their parents.
* Only 31 percent say they make enough money to cover their bills and put some money aside—22 percentage points fewer than in 1999—while 24 percent cannot even pay their monthly bills.
* A third cannot pay their bills and seven in 10 do not have enough saved to cover two months of living expenses.
* 37 percent have put off education or professional development because they can’t afford it.
* When asked who is most responsible for the country’s economic woes, close to 50 percent of young workers place the blame on Wall Street and banks or corporate CEOs. And young workers say greed by corporations and CEOs is the factor most to blame for in the current financial downturn.
* By a 22-point margin, young workers favor expanding public investment over reducing the budget deficit. Young workers rank conservative economic approaches such as reducing taxes, government spending and regulation on business among the five lowest of 16 long-term priorities for Congress and the president.
* Thirty-five percent say they voted for the first time in 2008, and nearly three-quarters now keep tabs on government and public affairs, even when there’s not an election going on.
* The majority of young workers and nearly 70 percent of first-time voters are confident that Obama will take the country in the right direction.