WASHINGTON — Young adults are the recession’s lost generation.
In record numbers, they’re struggling to find work, shunning long-distance moves to live with mom and dad, delaying marriage and raising kids out of wedlock, if they’re becoming parents at all. The unemployment rate for them is the highest since World War II, and they risk living in poverty more than others — nearly 1 in 5.
New 2010 census data released Thursday show the wrenching impact of a recession that officially ended in mid-2009. There are missed opportunities and dim prospects for a generation of mostly 20-somethings and 30-somethings coming of age in a prolonged period of joblessness.
“We have a monster jobs problem, and young people are the biggest losers,” said Andrew Sum, an economist and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. He noted that for recent college graduates getting by on waitressing, bartending and odd jobs, they will have to compete with new graduates for entry-level career positions when the job market does improve.
“Their really high levels of underemployment and unemployment will haunt young people for at least another decade,” Sum said.
Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard University, said young 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.”