NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The official unemployment rate is at 5.9% — but for Americans aged 20-24, the rate jumped to 11.4% in September, with no clear evidence the hiring situation will get any better anytime soon.
Perhaps that's the best reason young adults are saving less money these days.
In fact, the savings rate for Americans aged 18-34 has "declined" considerably, according to America Saves, a Washington, D.C.-based project sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America to help more Americans better manage their money.
It's not just that younger adults aren't saving money — it's also that they don't seem to care about stashing cash away, America Saves says.
The group estimates that the "interest in personal savings" in the younger demographic declined from 77% in September 2013 to 68% last month.
"Effort" to save more money also fell, to 57% from 66%, while the "effectiveness" in savings among 18- to 34-year-olds fell to 57% over the past year.
The reason does have a lot to do with scarcity of good jobs, which leads directly to low income and ample debt — two results that spell emptier bank accounts for young adults. They could also be hurting morale, America Saves reports.
"A combination of low incomes and high debts may help explain the decline in personal savings interest and effort by young adults," says Stephen Brobeck, executive director at the Consumer Federation of America. "All the data we've collected over the past year in our national surveys suggest that those who are struggling financially have lower levels of personal savings interest and effort."
Personal savings rates for Americans 35 and over are higher in all three categories (interest, effort and effectiveness), which America Saves indicates is an overall sentiment the economy is improving.
Maybe the survey's best takeaway for anyone looking to save money is that the more money you have, the more enthusiasm you have in socking money away in a bank or retirement fund.
America Saves reports that 80% of households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more had an 80% interest in saving money, compared with just 61% for households with average incomes of $25,000 or less.
That suggests a tendency in that a consumer who has more money is keen on saving more, even though people with lower incomes need to save more money to stay afloat, financially.
"Clearly one's financial resources have a great impact on savings interest and reported effort and effectiveness," Brobeck says. "The lower one's income, the more likely one is preoccupied with paying bills and convinced one cannot afford to save," he says.
— By Brian O'Connell for MainStreet