Young Worker Pay Declines as Result of U.S. Unemployment

Average pay for young American workers is declining as a result of high U.S. unemployment, according to a Tuesday report by the Wall Street Journal:

In data compiled for a coming report, the Economic Policy Institute, a center-left think tank in Washington, found that the average inflation-adjusted hourly wage for male college graduates aged 23 to 29 dropped 11% over the past decade to $21.68 in 2011. For female college graduates of the same age, the average wage is down 7.6% to $18.80…

The EPI data are another sobering sign for college students and have implications for the economy. With wages falling for many young people and about flat for the nation as a whole, consumers have limited ability to pay down debts and revive the economy with more spending."

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The Journal reports that there are still nearly four unemployed people for every job opening in the United States. Recovery remains elusive, according to experts:

"Students are realizing that they might need to take a stepping-stone job as opposed to that dream job," said Amy Bittner, a career counselor at Point Park who advised Mr. Probola.

Downward pressure on wages is likely to persist as long as unemployment remains high. At the current rate of job growth, the U.S. is still at least four years away from "a normally functioning labor market" with a rough balance between supply and demand for labor, said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard University.