Is the recession really over? That’s what the National Bureau of Economic Research recently asserted, stating that our current recession actually ended in June 2009 after 18 months of economic downturn.
The funny thing is…I hadn’t noticed. Have you?
I would say that a number of young adults have not noticed the change either, as unemployment is still a major problem for this age group and since the general mood of the country remains sober.
But even if the news is true, young adults should be especially cautious about going out today and celebrating this recession-is-over news. The sad reality is that even if the economy does start turning around, it’s those in their 20s and 30s who may feel its relief last of all.
At the moment, 17 percent of college-age adults and 12 percent of people in their late 20s and early 30s are living below the poverty line – a significant number for a generation just starting out in their lives. The amount of young adults 18 to 29 who are unemployed is more than double the national average, according the U.S. Department of Labor.
And even if the recession has ended, many young adults are the ones who will have the longest hill to climb. This gives new light to Jesus’ reminder to the disciples: “The poor you will have with you always” (Mk. 14:7). Perhaps young adults are the new poor?
This is not to rain on the parade of good news, but it is a cautionary tale. It’s also a call for all young adults to work together to support one another as we start to climb out of recession. Instead of going out and spending furiously, celebrating the end of a dark economic nightmare, perhaps we need to focus on helping each other at times like this. Perhaps this news means we need to try even harder at reaching out and supporting our peers and those in most need.
So what can you do to support other young adults suffering in this economy? If we can spend some time helping one another on this hard, uphill climb, then – together – we will reach the top and we can finally celebrate some good news.