MONTHLY BAROMETER - WELLNESS EDITION
By Thierry Malleret, economist
Younger generations, in particular Millennials, look to have stressful future economic challenges. The trifecta of (1) rising underemployment or unemployment, (2) rising student debt, and (3) rising property prices, makes them asset-poor and debt-rich – the worst possible combination for spurring investment and consumption.
It shouldn’t surprise us that so many commentators refer to young adults in high income countries (like the U.S./Europe) as the “anxious generation.” This is despite the fact that the Western world is not in the midst of a disaster, and today’s young adults haven’t lived through any depression, war or other catastrophe.
Yet there is a palpable bleakness in the air, like a form of generational anxiety. For psychologists, anxiety is closely associated with the inability to deal with uncertainty, meaning it is bound to increase. It’s hard to understand what’s happening in the world and even harder to know what might happen next.
These are conditions propitious to the growth of the wellbeing/wellness industry: the greater the anxiety, the greater the search for solutions that can assuage its effects. This may be the reason why, as the GWI has noted, that, “Millennials are obsessed with wellness.” This will endure and expand: Generation Z, that currently comprises 25-percent of the U.S. population, is even larger than the Millennials.