THE 3-MINUTE INTERVIEW: David Pasch

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People,Brian Hughes,3-Minute Interview

Pasch is director of communications at Generation Opportunity, a national, nonpartisan organization advocating for Millennials (age 18-29).

There has been a lot of focus on the improving jobs reports and a now 7.7 percent unemployment rate; are those gains extending to younger Americans?

There's nothing really encouraging to see in these numbers, which don't include 1.7 million Millennials who have given up looking for work. You'd have 16.4 percent unemployment [among those 18-29] if you included them. That really hasn't moved much -- it's so unacceptable. The economy is so bad and has been so bad for so long that people have just given up. It's an economic issue; it's a social issue.

How is that sentiment affecting other areas of life for Millennials?

We found that 84 percent told us they were delaying major life decisions -- getting married or buying that first house or other huge decisions -- because the economy has been so bad.

How are young people viewing the so-called "fiscal cliff" negotiations?

Young people don't feel that Washington leaders represent their interests, and if I own a small business, I don't know what my taxes will look like on Jan. 1. Uncertainty is terrible. I think my generation is a lot more sophisticated and engaged on these issues than people give them credit for. Voter turnout among those 18-29 actually increased this year -- nobody imagined that would happen.

How did you get involved with this type of work?

Quite honestly, I'm one of the lucky ones. I graduated from Vanderbilt in 2011. A lot of my friends are still looking for work. I'm 23, so I have a personal interest in my friends and the people I graduated college with. It was a happy coincidence of events.

- Brian Hughes

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