Guns and Chipotle: Millennials are the most employed generation in two occupational areas: food services and military.

Young Americans have many financial obstacles placed in their way.  Many older Americans like to chime in and blast younger Americans as being weak and complaining too much but the facts tell a different story.  Millennials do have it economically tougher.  Quality of life is up (for all) but the standard of living is getting harder to keep up with.  To achieve that middle class lifestyle that baby boomers achieved with very little education and in many cases a blue collar job now requires a two income households and mountains of student debt just to get there.  It is also the case that young Americans are now living at home in record numbers because of economic necessity.  Millennials are the most employed generation in food services and the military.  What does that tell you?

Millennials and occupational choices

It is expected that younger Americans will largely take on some sort of jobs.  But the number of Millennials in the military and food services tells you something deeper.  Keep in mind that at one point, manufacturing would have had a big opening for young workers as it did with the baby boomer generation.  So the options for many are: food services, military, or go to college to try to get into the middle class.

The data is rather clear.  First look at military representation:


“(DataUSA) With a median age of 29, military workers represent the youngest broad occupational group. This is most likely because of the military’s high physical standards, formal standards of hiring young people, and early retirement (often after just 20 years of service). Unsurprisingly, the military is overwhelmingly made up by men.”

That is to be expected.  What the above figures don’t show however is that young men and women only a generation ago would have been taking up more manufacturing jobs.  So the blue collar segment of our economy is largely hollowed out and hence the political undertones of the 2016 election.

Take a look at figures for food services:


“Food service workers make up the second youngest occupation. With an average salary of $16,202, these jobs are commonly taken by Millennials as they attempt to enter the economy. There is only a slightly larger percentage of women in this profession, making it a relatively gender neutral occupation category.”

We have an enormous number of people working in food services, in many cases being over represented by young Americans.  Incredibly low pay with little benefits and certainly nothing left over to save after the monthly bills are paid.  This is why the typical net worth of someone 35 and younger is actually zero dollars (assets minus liabilities).

People try to underplay manufacturing but look at the change here:


Manufacturing up until the 1950s made up over 30 percent of all jobs.  Today it is less than 10 percent.  These were good paying jobs that went to many younger workers without college degrees and allowed them to plan for the future.  Opportunities for growth and saving for retirement are almost nonexistent.  Pensions are largely dead.  You aren’t going to have much to save after working at Chipotle or McDonald’s.

Here is another telling chart showing total retail workers and those in manufacturing:


We now have more retail workers than those in manufacturing.  Yes, let us keep on listening to the older generation and how easy Millennials have it when they were a generation that had access to a middle class lifestyle without a college degree.

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4 Comments on this post


  1. Stephen Verchinski said:

    Just watched Citizen Soldier, the movie about a Oklahoma National Guard Unit deployed to Afghanistan. They lost two. The end of the movie had the over 800 from across the U.S.A. who also lost their lives. Many, many of them I noted, were of millenial age. Playing offense in an illegal war perpetrated by boomer lying George who back in his day was safe in the air national guard defending our borders vs. going to Vietnam. War and death is for those with no options.

    January 1st, 2017 at 10:29 am
  2. Diane D said:

    Millennials have another occupational choice. They can get their hands dirty, learn a trade and make good money. If you doubt me I challenge you to try building/renovating a home. Masons, carpenters, plumbers, electricians command a fair but high hourly rate and are scarce. There are some great niches too; solar installations, chimney installation, well pump installation, off-grid design and installation.

    January 2nd, 2017 at 1:03 pm
  3. can't offshore war said:

    can’t offshore war to china,can’t deliver pizza’s from mexico,so those 2 job fields are safe (for now),problem is both occupations are driven by gov’t spending and gov is flat assbroke,every aircraft carrier is in drydock too flat assbroke to afford to deploy even 1

    January 2nd, 2017 at 6:16 pm
  4. can outsource war and pizza said:

    can’t offshore war and pizza? ever heard of BlackWater (now Academi) and ex-military mercenaries from foreign countries? no training needed and no need to report casualties to the public.

    can’t offshore pizza from mexico? You know that Mexican government used to subsidize oil for their truckers who can drive straight into USA? They stopped the subsidy so Mexicans are rioting. They will assemble the frozen pizza in Mexico, ship it over with Mexican truck drivers if ROI made sense, but we have high school drop outs earning less than Uber drivers delivering pizzas.

    President only gets to be a President for 8 years max, and even CEOs have jobs for only few years until they are replaced by politics. You think they would care about little talentless guys when they get the shaft themselves?

    Americans were living well off of the dirty works of their ancestors: eradication of natives, slavery, immigrant exploitation, WWI and WWII victories, colonialism (look up Rhodesia and Philipines)… wonder politicians want war to solve economic problems. Because a pizza delivery person in other countries don’t even drive cars…they use mopeds for delivery and live in cramped old rooms.

    Why do Americans deserve more?

    January 21st, 2017 at 12:33 am


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