The Young & Jobless

It’s a no-brainer that the economy has been in the dumps for quite a few years now.  While hopes were raised in a desperate search for overall improvement and “change” when the new leader of our country assumed office back in 2009, situations such as unemployment and retail spending among many others have yet to make a dominant comeback. 

Since we are unable to turn around the state of the economy overnight, consumer trends have had to change and are changing permanently for the foreseeable future.  Retailers are being forced to rethink business plans, strategies, and relationships with their clients because of effects due to unemployment rates.  This doesn’t hit anyone harder than those recent graduates trying to enter the workforce and start their careers. 

As a member of Generation Y, also commonly referred to as Millennials, I graduated in 2009, and know firsthand how difficult it is start a career that is worthwhile and what you are searching for.  Many of our well educated youth are exiting university and finding nothing but minimum wage waiting positions and sales associate jobs available.  Many have to settle for jobs that in which do not provide health insurance but just enough cash to stock cupboards and fill gas tanks.  Unfortunately, for Millennials, unemployment is up as high as 14.8%, according to Women’s Wear Daily, whereas Generation X and Baby Boomers unemployment are lower, at 8.4% and 7.5%.

Facing New Consumer Trends:

As the young & jobless are in fact jobless or maybe not earning as much as they might have pre-recession, they are watching their pennies and tightening their belts on what they spend their  money on,  which is forever going to affect how they approach consumption all around.  Because websites like EBay look to be a friendly option for the cash-strapped, bidding and purchasing items at a lower cost than retail price, young consumers are taking that approach to the stores, trying to bargain lower prices for goods.  Changing trends are making that option of haggling prices in store possible since retailers are pressured to meet their money conscious clients halfway.  Today, it is hard to walk into any store and not find a sale happening.  Without advertising a big S-A-L-E, retailers have found consumers are most likely to pass on purchasing their merchandise all together, figuring it will be a lower price the next week, or keep the money in their pockets for the next store offering a discount.  Websites like Groupon, Gilt Groupe, and Net-a-porter have drawn in a load of consumers offering higher end fashion at flash prices with the added bonus of never having to leave your home!

Getting Creative:

With India, China, and Eastern Europe steadily taking over the global market, many companies which prided themselves in having American made products are being required to have their goods produced elsewhere for cheaper prices so that they can simply stay in business and offer the shopper goods at price-points they are seeking.  Generation Y is known for being technologically savvy and communicatively creative.  Think about the largest social media sites like Facebook and Twitter which we now see advertised with just about every business out there, trying to collect followers.  These social media networks offer ways to communicate with consumers being time friendly and even advertising an online coupon.  It is the Millennials who have grown up in a period where expression, acceptance and challenge have been important and because of those things, have invented new frontiers such as these online destinations.  The United States has had quite a long period with relatively little competition globally.  I suggest that we look at this lull in our economy and struggle with unemployment as healthy competition, global unity and an opportunity to challenge ourselves to create the answer and embrace the new and improved.  As for the current unemployed and soon to be college graduates, embrace your creativity and find a way to be different from the rest. Time consuming online applications might not seem to make the cut anymore.

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