Millennials Aren't Making As Much As Their Parents Did When They Were Young

One of the many bright spots in Friday’s blowout jobs report was a strong showing for the unemployment rate among millennials.

But even though young adults might be having an easier time finding a job, millennials might not be making as much as their parents did at the start of their careers.

We looked at median weekly earnings data available on the Bureau of Labour’s public download site for full time employees (adjusted to 2013 dollars), comparing 25-34 year old workers to all full time employees over 25:

While neither group’s median earnings have gone up since the 1980s, wages have dropped considerably for younger workers in recent years. Since 2000, median earnings have stayed flat for all adults over 25: weekly earnings for the larger group were about $US824 in 2000 (in 2013 dollars), while they were about $US827 in 2013. Meanwhile, young adults in 2000 made about $US743 per week, which has dropped to $US708 in 2013.

Going back further, in the 1980s, when many millennials’ parents would have been 25-34 years old, median weekly earnings for that group ranged between about $US740 and $US780, quite a bit higher than earnings for the present 25-34 cohort.

Even though the labour market has been improving for 25-34 year olds, the jobs they are getting might not be paying as much as the jobs earlier cohorts of young adults were working.

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