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I could try to summarize Ed's Bloomberg article, but you really need to read it in full. A few teaser factoids, though:
- The U.S. has developed a Europe-sized problem with unemployment among young adults. From 2006 to 2010, the jobless rate for Americans ages 20 to 24 rose to 15.5 percent from 8.2 percent, and the rate for men ages 25 to 29 increased to 11.8 percent from 5 percent.
- In 2010 there were 7 million fewer employed Americans than in 2007. Over the same period, the number of people not working increased by 13 million.
- From 2006 to 2010, the number of Americans older than 15 who had never married rose by 5.7 million, dwarfing the 1.7 million rise in the number of married adults. The number who were divorced or separated also went up, by 1.5 million.
- Marriage drop means fewer households being formed -- only 378,000 from 2008 to 2010; this, in turn, keeps the housing market down. If new households were still forming at the 2005 rate of 1.3 million per year, our excess housing inventory would probably go away, and the construction industry would likely be back to normal in no time.
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