Graph is from this interesting site.
It is amazing how very few of my contemporaries have little optimism that the job prospects for this country will improve. I think we have accepted the fact that our generation (and future ones) will have little chance of jobs with full benefits, pensions, or even a social network (e.g., human services, social security) to fall back upon as our country becomes increasingly broke. Considering the un/underemployment ranks around 25%, there seems to be little talk of ever returning to the grandeur this country once knew.
Full employment is a thing of the past; instead we now hear terms like "structural unemployment" incorporated into our vocabulary. I remember hearing a decade or two back how technology would create an entirely new class of people called the "leisure class" that would not need to work due to the advancements our society made in technology and productivity. I guess they forgot to add that this class would be be impoverished and left to fare on their own.
I am lucky to have a graduate degree and the prospect of jobs when I decide to foray into the market. I am also grateful for living in an economically-deficient town like Bellingham where residents place much greater emphasis on the things that money cannot buy. I have never lived in a community where people have materially so little, yet are the most self-satisfied. I wonder if indeed there is a positive correlation between angst and consumption?