Generation Opportunity President Paul T. Conway, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine L. Chao, responds to the January 2012 jobs numbers report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“Young Americans, including young veterans who have honorably served their nation, are being told by President Obama and his administration to settle for a new economic status quo where the lack of jobs, high unemployment, a record high number of people dropping out of the labor force, and limited economic opportunity are considered normal.

Instead of being allowed to pursue their dreams and careers through meaningful work, regular paychecks, and new skills gained on the job, the ongoing poor economy is forcing young adults to delay their plans, delay their lives, and scramble to simply make ends meet.

“Despite thirty-six consecutive monthly jobs reports with unemployment over eight percent and a new CBO forecast of higher unemployment in the year to come, the message from the Obama administration to young Americans is to expect more of the same — higher taxes, more regulations, and more federal interference targeted at private sector job creators.

Young adults pay dearly for this administration’s disregard and diminishment of private employers. Their level of aloofness and lack of empathy for the daily concerns of young Americans is as astounding as it is unacceptable.”

January’s 8.3 percent overall jobless rate fails to reflect the significant and ongoing challenges faced by young Americans in the continually poor economy. Joblessness among Millennials ages 18-29 is already at historic levels since the end of World War II, and hidden behind January’s numbers is the fact that many Americans have either accepted short-term, seasonal work or simply given up looking for work and are, therefore, not factored into the unemployment rate.

Even worse, the long-term U.S. job growth picture remains grim based on an official report released this week by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). CBO’s January 31, 2012 report concluded “a large portion of the economic and human costs of the recession and slow recovery remains ahead.”

CBO is also forecasting that the U.S. unemployment rate could reach 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, and could potentially increase to 9.2 percent in the year 2013. Finally, the report forecasts that the unemployment rate could remain as high as seven percent through the end of 2015, and that economic activity may remain “below the economy’s potential until 2018.”