What the Class of 2024 Can Expect After Graduation

By: Anneken Tappe · May 24, 2024 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Class of 2024 graduated high school at the peak of a global pandemic. Now they’re about to enter the workforce. But the economy they’re walking into has changed a lot of late.

Economic Outlook

Americans’ cost of living has risen substantially over the past years thanks to sustained high inflation. As the Federal Reserve reacted to rising prices with more restrictive monetary policy, interest rates on everything from savings to mortgages rose as well, creating a fruitful environment for savers, but a tricky one for prospective homebuyers as home prices kept going up in many places. Even so, inflation remains higher than the Fed would like it, 3.5% year-over-year in April.

Job starters may not immediately be in the market to buy a home, but the higher cost of living will factor into their reality right away. Shrinkflation, anyone?

The past years have also brought on a dynamic dubbed “funflation,” describing the higher cost of entertainment and leisure activities. Prices rose both because of high demand, but also as a reflection of a labor shortage in the leisure sector. The cost of travel has increased as well.

For job starters who are only beginning to create their first budgets and put together a list of financial goals, that’s a lot to take in.

Silver Linings

Even so, the Class of 2024 is also entering the workforce in a moment of greater flexibility for workers. This may include a growing openness to work in satellite offices, or remotely. Company benefits are also changing as employers increasingly recognize the desire for unlimited paid vacation days, longer parental leave policies, and help in achieving financial wellness.

Job starters should be reminded to take advantage of the benefits that come with their employment, particularly when it comes to saving for live events and retirement, no matter how far away that may seem.

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