If the coronavirus pandemic has had devastating health effects among older, more vulnerable populations across the world, it has also caused another, more subtle crisis among young people: Many young workers, left in the lurch as cities shut down, have lost their income and, in many cases, any real ability to plan for their future.
For a generation that came of age during the hangover of the 2008 financial crisis, it’s a particularly heavy blow. Now, just over 10 years later, they’re facing an even tougher prospect: an economy on lockdown and a severely disrupted job market, with no real end to the uncertainty in sight.
“My father helps me by paying for my gas, and doing the shopping,” said Margiotta. The family has stayed afloat thanks to a government-subsidized furlough program through which he gets part of his paycheck.
“It is not easy,” he said. “I can’t help but think: What if I had my own children?”
No countries for young men
According to the United Nations’ International Labor Organization, more than one in six people between the ages of 18 and 29 have stopped working since the beginning of the pandemic. Those who didn’t lose their job have seen their working hours fall by 23 percent.
Part of the reason the young have been particularly affected is that some 40 percent worked in sectors hardest hit by the crisis — such as tourism or health care — and nearly 77 percent of them held down informal or temporary work with little job security.
Young people across Europe have felt the effects of the crisis…