Commentary | Race and Ethnicity

What Does the Recession Mean for Young People?

In a joint effort with DEMOS, Algernon Austin, Director the EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy explores the outcomes of young people in this recession.

Today’s young adults are the first generation in a century who are not likely to be better off than their parents. Stagnant wages, job insecurity, the decline in employer-sponsored health insurance and retirement benefits, rapid increases in the cost of basic expenses, soaring debt, and minimal savings have diminished the prospects for opportunity and mobility. Not only has government policy failed to cushion the blow of these longer-term trends, which have affected Americans of all ages, young adults are trying to complete their educations and enter the job market in the midst of the longest economic crisis since the Great Depression. The current recession jeopardizes not only their immediate prospects but also their longterm chances for economic security and success.1 Given that today’s young people are our nation’s future, it is imperative that we understand how the recession is affecting them now as well as in the years to come.

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