For men with a high school diploma between 20 and 24 the unemployment rate is over 22%, and over 14% for those between 25 and 30. These rates are only slightly lower than those who didn’t even finish high school.
This is partly because the job sectors that hire young men who didn’t go to college are down, like construction and manufacturing. Women in these groups, without high school, fare 3 or 4 points better, but only because helping and service jobs are hiring, if not paying well.
And keep in mind that these high rates of unemployment among young men are occurring while we have two or three wars going. As soldiers return, with more discipline and experience, it can only get worse for 20 something men who didn’t go to college or join the army.
On the other hand, the unemployment rate for men and women who did finish college is 7.7% for those under 24, and 4.2% for those between 25 and 34. Even factoring in their huge school bills, they are probably better off—since their unemployment rate is even lower than the national average.
But frankly even college grads are competing for low end jobs, and often taking the jobs these younger, less educated men would have taken before. It remains to be seen the impact of these trends. But some research indicates young people who are unemployed tend to
* believe success depends more on luck than effort
* support government redistribution programs
* have less faith in public institutions
You wish they would have more faith in God. Historically hard times have prompted more prayer. But these kids have parents who have been less likely to go to church and their schools have been much less likely to recognize God in any way.
I’ve met these guys. The county where our church is has a lot of them, a county where finishing high school and getting a job in an automotive-related plant has been the standard of success for decades.
Churches should engage them. But how do we find these guys? How do we help them? Where can we point them? They often lack the right attitudes. And the right skills.
What is our responsibility to a generation of angry young men, men who drink too much and fight too much? And how is the problem in rural counties compounded in the larger cities? How can the demons be cast out, except by prayer and fasting?
Such needs should be enough to drive them, and us, to our knees. Great need could be the fertile soil of revival, as it has been in times past.
We could, of course, keep waiting for the lenders and the legislators to solve this problem for us. Another war tends to be their preferred solution.
Or we could love, mentor and hire a generation of young people, men and women, college educated or not, who need more skills than we’ve taught them, more hope than we’ve given them, and more character than we’ve shown them.
When we do this, and when our churches do this, charity will thrive and entrepreneurship will emerge. Those of means will creatively engage those with needs, next door and in our neighborhoods.
We’re running out of time.
What can churches do? Or individuals?
See related posts—
Why are men so angry?
On Occupy Wall Street