Rodney Johnson | Monday, April 29, 2013 >>


When they’re young, Christmas comes slowly for kids. The days leading up to the holiday seem to drag on forever. The anticipation of the morning drives them mad. When the big day finally arrives, they wake up early and rip into their presents as though their lives depended on what secrets they unwrapped.

As kids get older, Christmas starts to show up – and pass – faster and faster. Instead, another day on the calendar becomes the one they count down to. It’s a day that kids look forward to with more anticipation than all other days of the year combined…

The end of school.

It’ll be May in just two days, so the end of school is close at hand. It’s the time of year when my kids can’t seem to wake up with their alarm clock. Dinner table conversation centers around, “When will this end?!”… and the statement, “I am so done with school” has replaced the traditional “Hi, how was your day?” (and pretty much any other pleasantries).

But the days will pass soon enough, and young kids all across the country will be released from their own version of prison. And that’s a problem…

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Many young people spend their summers working, socking away money for college, saving up for a car, or generally replenishing their spending money. They take jobs that range from retail service to manual labor, generally on the lowest rung of the employment ladder.

Employers are glad to have the fresh faces show up because these workers are usually willing to accept very low wages and do jobs that others shun.

But that has changed.

This year – like it has been for the last several years – when high school and college kids go in search of summer jobs, they’ll find those positions already taken. The employment implosion of the last five years has led many who previously held middle income jobs to take anything they can find, which usually means positions typically held by the very young.

A great example of this is the position of Stocker at major stores like Target. The job involves restocking shelves in the middle of the night or very early in the morning, while the store is closed. The work is part-time and pretty mindless so you can see why it appeals to kids. They can stay up all night, not put too much brain power into it, and still earn some money.

The same factors (except for earning money) that make it attractive to a 17-year-old are the factors that make it detestable work for those who need to support their families… yet they take the jobs anyway.

Because it’s all they can find.

Our nation saw an uproar in 2009 and 2010 when unemployment benefits were extended to 99 weeks. Who needs unemployment for two years?

That was three years ago.

Unemployment is still high, and middle income jobs are the hardest to find.

The trickle down effects of this are clear. Those who used to hold middle income jobs are taking low income jobs. Their ability to earn and spend like they had in years past is severely curtailed. Their ability to grow in their career is also set back. Where do you go from part-time Stocker?

Meanwhile, young kids looking for part-time work will find very few opportunities. So they’ll spend more time on our couches at home, neither earning a wage nor getting valuable experience as an employee. The ramifications of this situation will be painful and with us for many years to come.

There is a bright spot though. We’re not Spain. In Spain unemployment is 27.7%, with youth unemployment (people under 25) at 58%. Couches in Spain are getting crowded.

Rodney

P.S. Demo School was a great success last week. Attendees where very vocal in their praise, as you could see in Teresa’s correspondence throughout the week. Those who didn’t get a chance to speak to her gave Harry, Lance, Dave and me their compliments. Practically all went home with new hope for their future finances, investments and businesses. But all good things come to an end and we’re wrapping up another Demographics School. At midnight tonight, the audio recording of the event, plus the full-color, 192-page workbook, goes offline. If you have not yet reserved your copy yet, do so now.

 

 

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Rodney Johnson
Rodney works closely with Harry to study the purchasing power of people as they move through predictable stages of life, how that purchasing power drives our economy and how readers can use this information to invest successfully in the markets. Each month Rodney Johnson works with Harry Dent to uncover the next profitable investment based on demographic and cyclical trends in their flagship newsletter Boom & Bust. Rodney began his career in financial services on Wall Street in the 1980s with Thomson McKinnon and then Prudential Securities. He started working on projects with Harry in the mid-1990s. Along with Boom & Bust, Rodney is also the executive editor of our new service, Fortune Hunter and our Dent Cornerstone Portfolio.