The economy is going in reverse for the young, as The Christian Science Monitor notes:
In the race to get ahead economically, America's young workers are falling behind.
A new survey shows that median incomes fell for householders under 45, even as they rose for older ones, between 2001 and 2004.
Income fell 8 percent, adjusted for inflation, for those under 35 and 9 percent for those aged 35 to 44. The numbers add new weight to longstanding concerns about whether younger generations of Americans will achieve living standards that are better -- or at least equal to -- those of their parents....
If you automatically think "white collar" when you picture a young worker, remember that not everybody in America fits that description. An article in yesterday's New York Times explains what's happening to young blue-collar workers at Caterpillar, in comparison with their elders:
RICK DOTY is a 30-year veteran of Caterpillar, the big tractor and earth-moving equipment manufacturer. He is paid $23.51 an hour as a machinist, and he receives additional benefits worth almost as much. That sets him far above newly hired workers consigned to a much lower wage scale.
To these fellow workers, Mr. Doty, who is also a local union leader, struggles to justify an inequality that he helped to negotiate.
"I remind them they are making more now than they were before they came to Cat," said Mr. Doty, who spends part of his day at the one-story union hall of United Automobile Workers Local 974 arguing that $12 to $13 an hour is good pay here. "And I assure them that five years down the road, when the present contract expires, we in the union are going to improve their lot in life."
That does not seem likely. After more than a decade of failed strikes and job actions -- mainly in Illinois, where Caterpillar has its biggest factories -- the U.A.W. reluctantly accepted a two-tier contract that provides for significantly lower wages and benefits for newly hired employees. The new second tier is as much as $20 an hour below the cost of employing Mr. Doty, 50, and a dwindling band of other veterans....
That's the future. And it's just going to get tougher and tougher for young blue-collar workers in this country.