The recession has created a dismal employment picture for 18- to 29-year olds, the worst since 1972. But despite that harsh economic reality, today's "Millennials" remain bizarrely rosy about their prospects.
That's according to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, indicating that nine out of ten 18- to 29-year-olds, dubbed the Millennial generation or Generation Next, believe they'll have enough money to lead the kind of life they want.
The facts on the ground are grim. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 37 percent of all Millennials are either unemployed or out of the work force. The last time a generation saw numbers that bad was when the last of the Baby Boomers were coming of age.
And the Millenial optimism contrasts sharply with the more dour outlook of today's Boomers, only 46 percent of whom told Pew they expect to have the financial security they'd like.
One factor could be that, for a large chunk of these young people, the vicissitudes of adult life have yet to set in. According to the survey, 36 percent of all 18- to 29-year-olds depend on their parents for financial assistance. For 18 to 24 year olds, it's 50 percent.
Indeed, one-in-six older Millennials, age 22 and older, has boomeranged back to a parent's home on account of the recession.
On the bright side, the Pew survey suggests that this generation is shaping up to be among the most educated in recent history. 54 percent of all of Millennials currently attend or have attended college, compared to 49 percent of Generation Xers at a similar age.