The provable difference between this generation's situation and previous ones is that today's kids are looking for jobs in a terrible economy. Here's the US unemployment rate:
If this is bad for people with jobs, who risk being laid off, it's horrible for people trying to enter the job market. Even when unemployment is at 9%, people with jobs mostly get to keep their jobs. But new jobs are really hard to come by, because employers aren't looking to hire. New hiring is much more volatile than retention of old employees. If you're dependent on new hiring (as people coming into the job market are), unemployment over 7% puts you in a dire situation. People of most age groups didn't have to deal with anything like that when they came out.
If you want to make Generation Y cheer up, there's something you can do about it. Well, you can if you're Ben Bernanke or the next chair of the Federal Reserve. Enact monetary policy that creates jobs. Inflation is currently unusually low, at 2%. Getting the Fed to stop worrying about inflation and worry more about the unemployment crisis for new job seekers would be exactly what they need. If this involves printing some new money and giving it to people until they start spending it and creating jobs, I'm for that. Bernanke once said that "The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at no cost." He should turn it on, and keep it on, until unemployment falls back to typical levels.