Young Americans Urged to Lobby White House Over Jobs

By Kendra Alleyne | June 4, 2012 | 7:17pm EDT

A protester in Muskegon, Michigan last December. (Greg Lindstrom/The Muskegon Chronicle/AP Photo)

( – Young Americans finding it increasingly difficult to enter the job market are being urged to call the White House in the coming days and “tell President Obama that time is now for real change.”

The appeal comes from Generation Opportunity, a non-profit organization that uses social media and grassroots organizing methods to engage young people “who find themselves dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to create a better tomorrow.”

The organization released data showing that the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) unemployment rate for 18-29 year-olds in May stood at 12.1 percent.

Many young people have stopped looking for jobs entirely and are not factored into this percentage. If the he labor force participation rate was factored in, the actual NSA unemployment rate for 18-29 year-olds would be 16.9 percent, it said.

Generation Opportunity president Paul Conway said young Americans were losing faith in the government and losing hope of finding jobs.

“Through no fault of their own, an increasing number of young Americans have begun to lose hope and have dropped out of the workforce entirely, disillusioned by the lack of jobs and dismayed at a White House that attacks America’s job creators and employers, while simultaneously putting Americans and their futures into deeper debt,” he said in a statement.

Conway, a former Department of Labor chief of staff, encouraged young Americans to continue to seek employment – and to petition the White House.

“Today, we are calling on young Americans across the nation – all those who are unemployed, those who are working multiple part-time jobs, and those concerned about friends and family members who are themselves in this situation – to call the White House in the coming days and tell President Obama that time is now for real change,” he said. “America can do better.”

The official U.S. unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percent in May, to 8.2 percent.

Conway said that figure “represents yet another chapter in the indefensible saga of how a great generation is being denied economic opportunity, jobs, critical skills, and the ability to pursue their dreams.”

“The ranks of all those frustrated by the lack of opportunities are joined by recent high school and college graduates whose enthusiasm to join the work force has been slammed by the same harsh economic status quo their brothers and sisters have been experiencing for the past few years – one marked by record high unemployment, a patchwork of part-time jobs, or jobs outside their chosen profession.”

Following the release of the 8.2 percent unemployment rate, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in a statement that the job market continued to recover and that there has been steady job growth in the past few months.

“Over the last 27 months, we have added more than 4 million private sector jobs,” she said. “And for each of the past five months, we have created an average of 169,000 jobs. Additionally, the number of people who have been unemployed for six months or more has decreased by 800,000 over the last year.”

Solis said the Obama administration “has put forward a number of efforts to support the unemployed and spur more economic growth. Specifically, President Obama has sent Congress a to do list that includes rewarding companies that bring jobs back home from overseas, investing in tax credits for small businesses, creating good jobs for veterans, investing in clean energy manufacturing and expanding refinancing for responsible homeowners.”

She urged Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work together.

“Every day Congress doesn’t act is another day our communities suffer, another day middle class families struggle and another day our children lose out on a better future.”

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