The Lookout
  • Chad Bennett looks for work at an employment center in Tallahassee, Fla. AP Photo/Phil Coale

    The slackers of the 1990s are remembered as listless MTV watchers and basement dwellers who opted out of America's striving, mercenary ethos. Many young adults today look similar at first glance. They're in their 20s or early 30s, they don't have jobs or spouses, and many live with mom and dad. But that's not by choice.

    This generation of reluctant slackers is eager to get started building careers, owning homes, getting married and having kids. They have put their lives on hold, though, thanks to the bleak economic climate.

    "I feel like a failure at times," Shatoria Smith, 26, told The Lookout.

    Since graduating from college in 2007, Smith has been living with her parents in Royal Palm Beach, Fla. In early 2008, she was laid off from her job with the local school district thanks to budget cuts, and since then has been looking unsuccessfully for full-time work--while getting an MBA that has been of little use.

    Smith said her job woes have affected other aspects of her life. "All my friends I went to school with, they're getting married, they're having kids," she said. "I've had several guys want to go out with me … but I don't feel like I'm good dating material … I don't wanna feel like I'm getting into this relationship and I'm mooching off them."

    It's not just her personal life that's stuck in neutral. Florida was hit hard by the housing bust, and Smith said there are plenty of foreclosed properties in her area that are for sale at low prices. "I would love to buy a home or a condo," she said, "but I can't."

    Smith's experience is far from unique. She first contacted The Lookout in the summer, after we asked readers to share their stories of being out of work. That young people have been among the hardest hit by the jobs crisis has been well-publicized. Statistics suggest that the dismal employment picture is leading an increasing number of people in their twenties and early thirties to put off taking the steps that for decades have defined the transition to American adulthood.

    Read More »from Reluctant slackers: economy leads young Americans to put adulthood on hold
  • (Thinkstock)A middle-school student has been awarded $1 million by a jury after a school administrator used him as a decoy in a failed pot sting, the Los Angeles Times' Jason Song reports.

    Laura Custodio, dean of Porter Middle School in the San Fernando Valley, asked the 7th-grader to pose as a potential buyer after the student reported that an 8th-grader at the school offered to sell him marijuana. But the sting failed when the 8th grader spotted a teacher in the boys' bathroom. "I was pretty scared," the decoy testified. "She told me it was the right thing to do and I had to do it . . . and I didn't want to disappoint her."

    Read More »from Note to school principals: Do not design your own pot sting
  • AP Photo/Rich PedroncelliMore evidence that for many, the "recovery" hasn't been much better than the recession.

    Nearly half of all Americans lived in a household that received some kind of government benefit during the first three months of last year, the Wall Street Journal reports, based on new Census data. That's even higher than the figure recorded during the depths of the Great Recession.

    Just over 48 percent of Americans lived in households that took in benefits during the first quarter of 2010--up from 44.8 percent in the third quarter of 2008, the heart of the downturn.

    Read More »from Reliance on government benefits even higher than during depth of recession


(3,631 Stories)
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