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. However, government policy, particularly in regards to regulation, is stuck in the 20th century and continues to hold back economic opportunity.
In testimony before the Joint Economic Committee I described how federal policymakers can embrace millennials’ version of the American Dream. Another witness, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the youngest member of Congress, used the term “flexibility” five times during her five-minute prepared testimony. This emphasis was intentional. Stefanik has met with countless young entrepreneurs and workers to hear their career plans.
Millennials have been called the most entrepreneurial generation. While this may be true based on their desires to start businesses and their near-universal respect for entrepreneurs, few young Americans have followed through on their dreams.
A Bentley University survey of millennials found that two-thirds of respondents have a desire to start their own business and Deloitte found that about 7 in 10 millennials envision working independently at some point in their careers.
Yet fewer than 4 percent of private businesses are at least partially owned by someone under the age of 30. This is the lowest proportion since the Federal Reserve began collecting data nearly a quarter century ago.
Additionally, on December 8, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the U.S. labor force will continue to age. The median age of the labor force is estimated to reach 42.4 in 2024, up from 41.9 last year and 37.7 in 1994. While this statistic on its own is not troubling, BLS also expects the labor force participation rate for young workers to fall below 50 percent in 2024, even though 16 to 24 year-olds already face a historically-low participation rate of 55 percent.
Rather than embrace the changing economy to promote entrepreneurship, many politicians call for a return to the manufacturing “golden age” of the 1950s—and the high unionization rates and inflexible workforce that accompanied it.
Read the full article at CapX.