As the multi-billion dollar anti-aging market indicates, Americans are forever seeking the mythical Fountain of Youth, which supposedly grants eternal youth to all who a) find it and b) drink its water.  However, in today’s economic climate, trading in a few laugh lines for youth might be a terrible choice.  Jobs are scarce, college is breaking the bank and it looks like things aren’t getting better anytime soon.

A recent report from Young Invincibles explains that the unemployment rate for those of us between 18-34 is 12.5 percent, well above the 9.6 percent national average.  Even worse, the jobs that do get added back into the market don’t go to Miillenials.  Young men and minorities are affected worse than other groups, and young minority men get hit the hardest of all.  The breakdown across demographics looks like this:

Unemployment Rate by Sex, Race and Age
  All Ages 18-34  16-24 16-24(Latino)   16-24(Black) 16-19(Black)
  Women 8.8 11.6 16.8 21.8 28.4 44.3
  Men 10.4 13.3 20.2 19.6 32.1 51.6

These numbers and the reality that created them bodes poorly for not only my future, but also that of my generation.  America’s young adults are in trouble and at this rate, daytime soaps will have to change the “Young and the Restless” to the “Young and the Jobless” just to relate to a new generation of moms.  Bottom line: young Americans cannot pay for school so they take out loans, and when they graduate, are unemployed with massive debt.  Bad credit and a lifetime of pulling ourselves out the proverbial “hole” of debt doesn’t sound great, and I doubt that I’m just speaking for myself here.

Conservatives are worried that health reform is turning America into France (with their socialized health care and fancy cheese).  We’re in danger of having a labor force, not a health care system, that looks more like France.  Some of us are worried that massive inequalities in unemployment numbers will lead to a powder keg of discontent like the kind that exploded in France in 2005 as the country was rocked by riots.  Poor economic prospects for young adults led to despair and anger which were turned into violence after two youths died while running away from police.  I’m not saying there will be riots, but even here angry young people don’t have a good track record on keeping quiet.

In this economy, being young is not all it’s cracked up to be.  The Fountain of Youth is the new Mexico: don’t drink the water.