Tag Archives: Millennials

Washington Is Out of Touch with the 21st Century Workforce

The American economy is changing, and millennials’ attitudes about work and their careers are changing with it. The rapid rise of the so-called “sharing economy” embodies many young Americans’ new economic ideal—one driven by technology, convenience, and flexibility.

Companies such as Uber and Airbnb offer the technical platform and support to allow transactions between buyers and sellers easily to take place. For this reason, these types of companies are often referred to as “intermediaries.” Those who partner with intermediaries are classified as independent contractors, not employees.

The flexibility that independent contractor status offers workers is vital to the sharing economy’s success. While some workers use these platforms full time, the vast majority use them for part-time work or supplemental income. About 8 in 10 Lyft drivers choose to drive 15 hours a week or less, and half of Uber drivers use the platform for less than 10 hours a week.

Read the rest on Economics 21, here.

European Millennials Are Locked Out of the Job Market

At the 8th annual European Students For Liberty Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, I asked students which policies make it more difficult for them to succeed in their home countries. Though I heard a diverse array of answers, one response repeatedly came up. They told me that inflexible labor markets are the main way many European governments decrease economic opportunity for their youngest residents. This inflexibility leads to high youth unemployment and leaves young people with a disproportionate share of temporary work.

The students’ complaints centered on their inability to secure long-term employment. Labor laws across the European Union do not recognize the U.S. concept of employment at-will. In the United States, if they are not discriminating, companies can fire workers for no reason at all. But employment contracts in Europe are indefinite unless the contracts are specifically set for a short period of time.

Read the rest on Economics 21, here.

Congress Needs to Help Millennial Entrepreneurs

Millennials have been called the start-up generation, but few young Americans have followed through on their entrepreneurial dreams. About two-thirds of millennials want to work for themselves. Yet, less than 4 percent of private businesses are at least partially owned by someone under the age of 30—the lowest annual proportion on record.

Government policy, particularly in regards to regulation, ignores the realities of a 21st century economy and continues to hold back millennials’ economic opportunity. Congress has granted executive and independent agencies freedom to regulate with minimal oversight, and these agencies consistently understate the costs that their pronouncements place on young Americans.

It is impossible to know the full costs of America’s 175,000-page Code of Federal Regulations because executive agencies refuse to take count. For example, during 2014 only 16 of the over 3,500 rules published in the Federal Register had a cost analysis.

Read the rest on Economics 21, here.