Tuesday, August 4, 2015

More on Millennials

Attracting millennials is a recurring theme in Tampa Bay, particularly around the downtown development strategies for both Tampa and St. Petersburg.

As Bob Buckhorn is quoted.
[On attracting millennials] “I don’t think there’s anything standing in our way of accomplishing that. We’ve just got to be focused. We can’t be divided. We can’t worry about who gets the credits. We can’t worry about who’s Democrat, who’s Republican. We know what our plan is, and we’ve just got to go execute it and we’ve got to be relentless about doing it. There’ s a tendency for cities to rest on their laurels, and we’ve had a good couple years, but we can’t rest on our laurels. Every day we’re out there competing for talents, jobs, corporate relocations.”
And another, Buckhorn expressing satisfaction with success.
One accomplishment Buckhorn takes great pride in is his success in luring millennials to Tampa. Explosive growth is attractive, so is Tampa's new, aggressive attitude.
"As evidenced by the RNC or Bollywood awards, when we set our mind to something we can accomplish it, and we can set the bar as high as any city in America," said Buckhorn.
Another recent analysis identified St. Petersburg and Tampa among the top destinations for millennials.
The Tampa Bay region is a top destination for millennial job seekers according to an analysis by NerdWallet. Both St. Petersburg and Tampa ranked in the 10 best cities for those ages 20-34 to find a job. In fact, St. Pete ranked No. 1 in Florida with Tampa coming close behind at No. 3.
Despite the concerns of our local leaders about our future relevance and our ability to attract millennials, St. Pete  comes in at #1, and Tampa lands at #3! Nice!

We keep coming up well in many of these rankings, for whatever its worth. There are others we don't always do so well, but that's the nature of these lists -- many can be subjective, perhaps this NerdWallet study less so than others.

Yet, there are concerns about our continued focus on millennials as part of our economic foundation.
About 42 million 18-to-34-year-olds lived independently of their families on the eve of the recession. About 42 million of them live on their own today, even as the size of this age bracket has grown. That means a young adult is even more likely to live at home in 2015 than back in 2008.
So now we have a modest, more perplexing new trend: Millennials are finding work, but they still seem stuck at home.
Reasons? Student debt overhang, increasing rent outpacing their increasing incomes.
"What I [Richard Fry, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center] do know is the number of households being run by young adults is stuck at 25 million. It was 25 million in 2010, and it’s still 25 million in 2015," he says. "That does have serious larger economic ramifications. A lot of money gets spent when you set up your house, whether you’re a renter or an owner. Realtors care. Home Depot cares. The cable company cares."
It's possible other sectors of the economy are benefiting — maybe restaurants and bars — from the money these particular Millennials aren't spending on build-it-yourself bed frames. But it's also possible they're saving it. Or maybe they're paying rent at home. Back in a 2011 Pew survey, about a third of 18 to 34-year-olds living at home said they pay rent there, and three-quarters said they contribute to household expenses. Maybe their parents could use that money.
No millennials here
(source Flickr, Nicholas Fitzgerald Kidd)
Steven Ratner picked up on this theme in the NY Times.
Americans between 18 and 34 are earning less today (after adjustment for inflation) than the same age group did in the past. A typical millennial averaged earnings of $33,883 (in 2013 dollars) between 2009 and 2013. That was down 9.3 percent (after adjustment for inflation) in just a decade and is the lowest since 1980. Older Americans have fared considerably better; earnings of all full-time workers were roughly flat between 2000 and 2011.
Still more striking is that millennials have endured falling earnings even though they have attended college in record numbers. . . .
Another huge drag on the finances of younger Americans is the mountain of student debt that has been piled up in recent years. Members of this year’s graduating class left their campuses owing an average of $35,051, about twice the levels borne by their counterparts two decades earlier (after adjusting for inflation). That’s in large part because college is becoming less affordable even as it has become increasingly necessary. Since 1993, average tuition has risen by 234 percent, far above the 63 percent overall inflation rate.
Saddled with debt and thin paychecks, millennials are delaying purchasing cars and new homes, low mortgage rates notwithstanding.
Here's another point of view, confirming the above points, and adding a couple of more explanations, including

  1. Declining birth rates, thus fewer siblings, thus less stifling to live at home.
  2. More single parents, which may be more amenable to companionship of their children.
  3. Rising ethnic diversity, in which blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are more likely to live in multi-generation households.
  4. Changing attitudes towards sex, "Living at home might have meant forfeiting one’s romantic life. Today, thanks to more permissive sexual norms, that may no longer be the case."

Perhaps a generation of helicopter parenting is paying dividends as well.

Even as the job market has improved for millennials, there are plenty of other factors why they are still living at home.

Regardless, this all points to concerns about building our economic foundation on millennials. Yes, we want to attract millennials. We also want and need to attract all generations to contribute economically, culturally, spiritually... or just enjoy the Tampa Bay area.

We should also make sure we are building a foundation for millennials as well. The foundation to support all of us.

That is built on a solid plan of jobs, affordable housing and rent, and low regulations and taxes.

Something we all can benefit from.

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