MINNEAPOLIS -- A new report shows a 30-year-old today makes about the same amount of money as a 30-year-old in 1984.
The Center for American Progress' report found, when adjusted for inflation, the median hourly wage for both is about $19. That is despite the fact that Millennials--people born between 1981 and 1997--are 50 percent more likely to have finished college while working in an economy that is 70 percent more productive.
The Center for American Progress report pointed to the recession, a slow recovery and student debt as factors keeping Millennials behind.
"As economists, we know that the three big factors are the education level that you have, the occupation that you choose, and then the length of experience that you have," said Jenny Keil, a Hamline University professor and chair of the Economics, Strategy and Marketing Department.
According to Keil, money is not the main focus for many Millennials.
"They really have an idea, in general, that they want to try to change the world. So it's not just a job for a lot of Millennials, it's often a calling," Keil said.
28-year-old Fred Sproat of Minneapols agreed with that sentiment saying he and his friends "want to be doing something that's gratifying and fulfilling personally but also making our communities a better place, as well."
Keil said Millennials also tend to job hop more than previous generations.
"I think it's more about growth and opportunity where you see the quickest advancement. That's why people move around a lot," said 24-year-old Desmond Wyer of Minneapolis.
The author of the study, Brendan Duke (also a Millennial), argues that Millennials have spent almost their entire working lives in a "loose" market with too many job seekers and too few jobs. He points out Millennials are less likely to unionize and that doing so could help Millennials make up lost ground.
The report also mentions how family-friendly policies such as paid family and medical leave might help improve Millennials' lot.
Professor Keil also added that wage growth for all workers has been a challenge for businesses faced with the rising costs of health care.