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Young adults dubbed "lost generation" amid recession

by Adam Russett on September 22, 2011

The impact of the recession reaches far and wide, but there may be one demographic in the U.S. that is hit particularly hard – young adults. Census numbers indicate that people in their 20s are struggling with unemployment at rates that haven't been seen since World War II, and almost one out of five are in danger of falling into poverty, according to The Associated Press.

The effect the recession is having on young adults ripples through the generation in the form of delayed marriage, fewer home purchases and a number of children being born out of wedlock. This information comes following a release today of new data from the 2010 census.

"These people will be scarred, and they will be called the 'lost generation' – in that their careers would not be the same way if we had avoided this economic disaster," Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard University, told the news source.

Older adults, on the other hand, managed to stay in place in their jobs or return to previous careers. According to census figures, one-sixth of all Americans aged 65 and older are part of the labor force, which is the highest amount since the 1960s.

Meanwhile, employment among young adults between the ages of 16 and 29 stood at just about 55.3 percent, a sharp decrease from the 63.7 percent in 2000, before the recession. Young men, particularly those who are African American or Hispanic and without college degrees, were more likely to lose jobs than others in their age group.

Having a college degree, on the other hand, is more beneficial than ever. Areas such as Boston, San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which have some of the largest populations of educated individuals, also tended to see the highest salaries during these tough economic times, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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