Young Americans in the workforce may be disproportionately affected by pandemic layoffs

Young people in the workforce may be disproportionatley affected by COVID-19

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Young people 18 to 34 years old are disproportionately losing their jobs as millions of Americans grapple with unemployment from the coronavirus crisis.

19 News is taking a look at why that is and how you can get ahead if you're one of them.

Gen Z and Millennials may be the worst hit so far when it comes to losing their jobs.

A recent Axios-Harris survey showed 31 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 have lost their jobs or been furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That survey was taken before even more job losses stacked up in April.

Experts say it may be getting worse for young workers.

“A lot of the younger generation are losing their jobs disproportionately to the rest of the worker population and a lot of that is simply because of the nature of their jobs,” said Scott Wright, a finance professor at Ohio University.

“So if you think about it, what are the businesses you’ve seen around you close down? Restaurants, bars, hospitality and a lot of those employ the 18 to 35-year-old crowd. So they tend to be in jobs that don’t make as much and are not the jobs that you can work at home,” Wright said.

There are 19.3 million workers ages 16 to 24 in the economy overall, and according to Pew Research, 9.2 million, nearly half, are employed in the service sector.

“So what can they do? Well once again, let's use this time and take advantage of it. So let's go online and take some free classes. There are a lot of free opportunities out there to increase your skills,” Wright said.

Wright recommends getting up to speed with technology and learning a new marketable skill.

He also says you should join professional organizations on Facebook and LinkedIn to do some networking.

“If you don't feel you're going to be called back and you have to look for a new job, really hone your video interviewing skills. Learn how to use Zoom, Microsoft teams. Have your friend call you up and interview you, ask you questions that are typical so you can get used to looking for a new job,” Wright said.

Americans of all ages are struggling with layoffs and furloughs during this crisis.

19 News got a question from a viewer who didn't want to be named.

She said she and many people over age 50 have been out of work before this crisis hit, and were already having a hard time finding good paying jobs.

She asked, “how can we overcome ageism in hiring?"

19 News turned to Professor Wright for an answer.

“So use this time to brush up and make sure you know everything on the cutting edge in your industry, or whatever field you want to be in. And make sure you document it properly on your resume, maybe make it more prominent that you are competent in these areas to show that you're as up to speed as anyone coming out of college or who's been in the industry for a few years,” Wright said.

“You could also think about taking off some of the dates on your resume, so for example don't put on their when you graduated from college. Because the first thing they're going to see, 'oh they graduated college in 1980. Whoa this person is way too old,’” he said.

Wright recommends just listing the name of your university or college on your resume that way employers focus on your qualifications and not your age.

Copyright 2020 WOIO. All rights reserved.