A new poll released today (but not posted online) :
In its seventh annual “Teens and Entrepreneurship” poll, Junior Achievement has found that 13-18 year olds are less interested in starting their own businesses than they were a year ago. In 2007, 67 percent of teens indicated an interest in entrepreneurship; in 2008 that number declined to 60 percent—perhaps as a result of the stagnating economy. Teens cited “unemployment,” “possibility of recession,” and “the federal budget deficit” as the top three threats to the U.S. economy. But in a show of optimism, more than half (53 percent) predicted they would be better off financially than their parents.
There has been talk about the Facebook/Myspace generation being destined to be the most entrepreneurial yet, and I've expressed skepticism about that theory.
I don't think this poll is reason to be more skeptical and conclude anything dramatic about deteriorating entrepreneurship, though.
Of course, we expect confidence in business to take a hit during a recession. But there's little evidence that the U.S. is making a fundamental shift away from entrepreneurship. All the talk of "capitalism being dead" is likely to die down when Obama takes office and people see that he is going to have to be pragmatic.
The U.S. economy will still primarily be driven by entrepreneurs. That's plenty of reason for the youth to stay restless and interested in starting their own businesses.