Report: Millennials earn less than the previous generation

Young people are 'confronting unique economic challenges'

Millennials in New York City earn about 20% less than the previous generation and may never catch up to their predecessors' salary levels, according to a New York City comptroller office report.

The report examined employment trends of Millennials and found entry-level employees in 2014 were worse off than those who came before them.

"Many of the jobs available to young people in the city during the past decade paid less and offered fewer opportunities for career advancement than those available to earlier cohorts of young people," the report says. "As a consequence, in coming years millennial workers may struggle to transition into more promising careers after spending their formative years in jobs that offered few opportunities for long-term career development."

Wages falling for most US workers without college degrees

More Millennials went to college than their older peers, but their salaries still lag. Seventy-two percent of workers 23- to 29-years-old had some college education, up from just 61% in 2000.

Over the same time period, Millennial workers began to make up a greater share of workers in low-paying jobs (climbing 4 percentage points) and a smaller share of workers in mid- and high-paying jobs (falling 3 percentage points).

In 2014, the real wages of young workers were lower than what workers their ages earned in 2000.

The percentage of low-wage employees with at least a bachelor's degree grew to 33% in 2014 from 23% in 2000. That means many workers are likely underemployed, according to the report.

"Millennials were applying for jobs in the most difficult economic climate since the Great Depression and as a result, a growing number are now working in low-wage industries and earning less than their predecessors," says Scott Stringer, the city's comptroller. "This group of young people is confronting unique economic challenges that their parents did not have to face."

The report suggests raising minimum wage, expanding affordable housing, and improving worker training programs. The report's findings support other national studies that point to Millennials' bad economic luck (Soergel, U.S. News & World Report, 4/26).

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