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Millennials keep their chins up despite high unemployment in economic downturn

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The experience of 20-something Kevin Henneberger, who graduated in December from Texas A&M University, is a case in point. He and his wife are both looking for work and have considered many options.

"My wife and I would be open to volunteering, or ultimately taking a job out of our fields," says Mr. Henneberger during an interview in Boston, where he is looking for work. "But I'm confident that there's some job out there in the Web communications industry that I could do. I've just got to snag something. And ... right now I'm ... still pumped to get into my field, so I just have to channel that energy."

To save money, the couple has moved to her parents' home in California while they try to crack into the job market.

That parental cushion wasn't so available to earlier generations of young people – and it wasn't something that many from the preceding Generation X looked to when the dotcom bubble burst and unemployment socked them in 2000. But 13 percent of parents with grown children recently reported that an adult son or daughter had moved home in the past year, says a Pew Research Center survey. Of those, 2 in 10 were full-time students and one-quarter were unemployed. About one-third had lived on their own before returning home.

Of course, if young people are sidelined in the workforce for a long time, it hurts both them and the nation as a whole. Shaped in the early '90s by Disney videos, cellphones, and the Internet, they are often characterized as collaborative, creative, tech-smart, and idealistic, in an "impact the world" sense, say those who research attitudes of Millennials.

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