(Bloomberg News) The Class of 2008, born during the historic bull market that closed the past century, reached a dubious distinction last year: More than a million of the college graduates have gone back home.

The number of 26-year-olds living with parents has jumped almost 46 percent since 2007, according to Census Bureau data compiled by the University of Minnesota Population Center. Last year, the number of 18- to 30-year-olds living with their parents grew to 20.7 million, a 3.9 percent gain from 2010.

The figures underscore the difficulty that millions of young people have had in finding jobs and starting careers in the U.S. following the longest recession since the Great Depression. About a quarter of American adults between the ages of 18 and 30 now live with parents, while intergenerational households have reached the highest level in more than 50 years.

"There's been a shift in attitude," said Kate Brooks, the career services director at the University of Texas College of Liberal Arts. "Parents are more accepting; some welcome it."

Reflecting on the changing circumstances among 20-something adults, many of whom backed Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan suggested some may have second thoughts this year. Not all young adults have "to live out their twenties in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life," he said at his party's convention in Florida last month.

High Unemployment

The number of unemployed Americans has surged 60 percent to about 12.5 million from 7.82 million in the first quarter of 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The nation's jobless rate, which peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, was 8.1 percent in August, compared with 5.1 percent in March 2008.

Kevin Sanchez graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 with a bachelors degree in journalism and no job. He moved back home to Edinburg, a South Texas city in the nation's poorest metro area, centered on neighboring McAllen. He joined his parents, a grandmother and a younger sister.

After a month, his parents insisted that he get a job. Now Sanchez, 26, teaches speech communication at a middle school. During the past four years, he also earned a master's degree in finance at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.

Sanchez supplements his teaching salary by freelancing for the local CBS Corp. television affiliate and is also helping with marketing for a relative's home health-care business.

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