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Jobs Growth Doesn't Have Anything to Do With Trump, Everything to Do With Millennials

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The man is exultant. When July's growth numbers revealed US businesses added 209,000 jobs, Trump tweeted,

The key phrase here is, "I have only just begun."

Twitter user Impeach Donald Trump (220K followers, no small amount) tweeted back,

The obvious argument is that a certain month's--or quarter's, or year's--jobs numbers are the result of years of hard work from employers, the people they hire, and the president who helped them get started to begin with. Trump has only been in office a little over six months, a minuscule amount of time compared to how long it takes to build an economy healthy enough to post these jobs numbers.

Trump's tweet speaks to his incredible narcissism (which speaks to his psychopathy). Instead of congratulating the country--its growing businesses, its hard-working people--Trump takes the credit.

There's plenty of evidence people in America are working hard to capture the "American Dream" and dig themselves out of the dismal slide of the Great Recession. In this struggle, one oft-maligned group is millennials, 49 percent of whom have taken a job just to pay the bills. Partly because their parents pounded it into their heads that you have to go to college to get a job, and partly because so few baby boomers wanted to pay to enable their children with an education, millennials have over $1 trillion in student-loan debt. What's more, in 2011 millennials had $798 billion in credit-card debt. They must have thought they could pay off debt with jobs, but because of the recession the employment rate for millennials decreased by seven percent between 2007 and 2012. About 37 percent of millennials were unemployed in 2012.

In April of 2017, only 4.4 percent of millennials were unemployed. That number mirrors the national unemployment rate. Like the rest of America, millennials are working hard, and it has nothing to do with Trump. It has everything to do with their effort to escape from debt and build a future in which they don't live with their parents.

Yet, even as millennials work hard to dig themselves out of a hole, wages are barely rising. Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, says July's wage data shows the "slowest pace [of growth] we've recorded in about three years and it's the sixth straight month that pay growth has declined." America's employers are willing to give people jobs, but they're not operating in a system that gives them any incentive to pay well for these jobs.

Despite coming of age in a system working against them, millennials are the most generous generation in nearly a century. In 2012, 83 percent of millennials donated money to organizations, primarily nonprofit organizations. And, contrary to stereotype, millennials are hard-working.

One hard-working individual is Katie McBeth, a millennial who has been featured in Fortune Magazine. She "researches SEO strategies during the day, and freelances at night"; she offers thoughtful and smart advice on secure credit cards in an effort to help people with poor credit build their score. This isn't someone who feels they've been duped by the system, trying to rail against it; on the contrary, this is a young person trying to help other young people buy into the system without doing so recklessly.

The political system in which Trump is now embroiled works by either imposing regulations or allowing entities to operate relatively freely in our economy. In his tweet, Trump says, "Many job stifling regulations have begun to fall." He's saying his war on regulations is responsible for the increase in jobs. Let's put this to the test and take, for example, the restaurant industry. A great many of July's new jobs (53,000) are in the restaurant and bar industry. Restaurants and bars typically pay employees minimum wage and expect patrons to make up for it with tips.

According to the Washington Post, Trump's Labor Department is ending an Obama-era regulation that kept restaurateurs from taking servers' tips, pooling them, and redistributing them to other workers. But the rule hasn't been in effect since 2013 because of litigation. So much for any action on Trump's part actually making a difference in that respect.

What's more, Raj Nayak, the National Employment Law Project's director of research, says allowing owners to pool tips is a matter of "essentially subsidizing wages that the restaurant should pay. Fundamentally, the employer should not be taking a portion of the tips." This will allow restaurant employers to keep wages low and rely on customers--who, as far as they know, are tipping the server--to foot the bill for other employees.

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