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05/09/2013

The millennials, narcissistic personality disorder and unemployment

Time magazine is making a splash with its recent cover story on the millennials.

Oh, you know who they are. They live in your house and refuse to leave. You pay top dollar for their education and they are the only ones who truly know how to set up all your electronic devices, including the PVR.

The millennials is the term being used to describe those born between, depending on who you ask, 1981 and 2000. Feeling old yet?

Time's cover story screams the: "Me Me Me Generation: Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents. Why they'll save us all."

Time's Joel Stein writes:  "Here's the cold, hard data: The incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that's now 65 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health; 58% more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982."

Sure, they are overconfident and a bit entitled, but, the global job market has not been kind. Many are on the couch fiddling with the iPad because they can't find work.

The International Labour Organization released Wednesday global unemployment trends for youth in 2013. No surprise here -- the numbers aren't good.

The global youth unemployment rate is about 12.6 per cent in 2013, that represents 73 million, and it is "close to its crisis peak," according to the ILO study. By 2018, the rate is expected to hit 12.8 per cent.

"The weakening of the global recovery in 2012 and 2013 has further aggravated the youth job crisis and the queues for available jobs have become longer and longer for some unfortunate young jobseekers. So long, in fact, that many youth are giving up on the job search," the 161-page report states.

Instead, youth are increasingly forced to take part-time work, temp jobs or unpaid internships.

Another problem is there skills do not match what the labour market is looking for. Sure, a degree in art history seemed like a great idea at the time, but, "overeducation and over-skilling co-exist with undereducation and under-skilling," the report noted.

So why will they save us all?

Because they can be adaptable. They have confidence and tech savvy ways we can only dream of.  Out of necessity, they'll end up employing themselves and showing the rest of us the way.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga

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