As you may have read on this site, I am organizing and editing a book-length essay collection titled “Millennials Speak. Essays on the 21st Century”. The book is composed of 23 writers spread out of over 5 continents writing about big issues from the standpoint of the Millennial Generation. We’re all pretty excited about it.
While compiling some statistics regarding global and national (US) youth unemployment for the book’s introductory essay, I ran across something called the “Millennial Jobs Report”, published by a DC-based non-profit called Generation Opportunity.
They cite a somewhat nebulous statistic regarding unemployment numbers for people who fall into the Millennial Generation in the United States (people roughly 18 – 30 years old). I’m not sure where they got their numbers since the US Department of Labor only keeps track of youth unemployment (ages 16 – 24), and then everyone over that age. There is no differentiation—for people over 24—at least for the numbers the DoL actually publishes.
There is no reference to methodology or how Generation Opportunity came up with their numbers. It looks like they blindly averaged some available numbers and passed them off as verified demographic statistics. Anyone who has taken an undergraduate-level social statistics class knows this is poor form.
I Googled high and low, searching for other mentions of their statistics, hoping to find out how they came up with them. I found some references to the numbers, but we will get to that.
First, who is Generation Opportunity? The organization consistently labels itself as a non-partisan, non-profit outfit that exists to educate the public about the hurdles facing the nation (and the Millennial Generation). I’m not so sure about all of this. Let’s take a look at three of Generation Opportunity’s employees (names withheld but available on their website) before we judge this organization according to our own personal definitions of “non-partisan”.
Their Director of National and State Policy is former Chairman of the New Jersey College Republicans and former co-chairman of the College Republican National Committee.
Their Communications Director is former Staff Lead of the National Advance Team for Rick Santorum’s failed bid for presidential nomination.
Their Senior Vice President for Communications is former Vice President for Communications and Marketing for Americans United for Life.
None of this is new information and it is publicly available via Google searches and on LinkedIn. The organization’s non-partisan credentials are shaky, at best. Still, many media outlets gobbled up their “jobs report” as fact. Below are some of these media and news outlets, with links to their stories:
I had to stop around page 3 of this Google search.
All of this may come across as nerdy nitpicking (necessary when performing legitimate research), but it is another example of some large media companies with almost limitless resources accepting information at face value and passing it off as fact with little or no investigation (*cough* Manti Te’O). The fact that more than one article on the Huffington Post cites these “statistics” is laughable, considering the obvious political slant of that site’s content.