Often dubbed "the Oregon Trail Generation" after a popular computer game, the group of Millennials born in the 1980s isn’t quite the same as their younger peers. After all these adults do remember life before computers and social media were everywhere. They are still regularly lumped together with younger individuals as part of a generational group, an action that has prompted some debate.

However, the fact remains that people born in the 1980s were hit particularly hard by the recent recession and may not ever fully recover. This factor has caused some folks to go so far as to dub these individuals as "the lost generation," in a move that calls to mind some of the more famous people who were possessed of a similar appellation during the 1920s.

Who Didn’t The Recession Hurt?

Although people who had retired were somewhat safer from its effects, the recent recession decreased the overall earning power of the entire active workforce. Individuals who had just graduated and were looking for jobs at the time faced even bleaker prospects. Unemployment was high, and wages were stagnant, leading many of these people to start their careers at a loss. These folks often took low paying and bad fitting jobs to stay afloat, and it ultimately cost them.

Young people entering the workforce nowadays have ample opportunities to get ahead in life. They also seem to have learned from their slightly older contemporaries’ mistakes. Growing numbers of them are slowly moving away from home. However, individuals between the ages of 25 to 34 are doing just the opposite by going back to live with their parents, with men being more likely to do so than women.

Overly Indulged Losers or Victims of Fate?

Many popular theories are floating around that detractors have used to explain the phenomenon. They might blame too much helicopter parenting as the reason for young adults so-called "failure to launch." Or they might blame an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, a poor work ethic, and irresponsibility on the part of the young adults in question. There’s certainly a reason that avocado toast has become a symbolic sneer at this group and their younger contemporaries.

However, it seems that lousy timing should receive a more significant portion of the blame than it currently gets. The economic downturn during the late 2000s quietly left permanent scars on this group’s finances, ones that they can’t recover from so quickly. The lack of money has subsequently contributed to these individuals avoiding or at least putting off life milestones that other generations so easily achieved. Although wages have indeed risen over the past few decades, they haven’t been enough to keep the pace with necessary cost-of-living expenses, which have also increased.

The recession has also made it more difficult for these individuals to repeatedly switch jobs, a move that is considered a pathway to higher pay and more economic success. There’s also the fact that job turnover is on the decline and people may subsequently find themselves trapped in a lousy position to avoid being unemployed. Of course, there always the hope that people born in the 80s will overcome their rocky beginnings by using their educations and longer life expectancies to get ahead in the end.


Image Credit: StockSnap via Pixabay.

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