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The pandemic has had a lopsided affect on millennials, a generation that was already divided before 2020 by wealth and opportunity, among other things.
Millennials’ first recession — the financial crisis — split the generation down the middle, as the older cohort graduated into a stagnated job market and the younger cohort caught the tailwind of the recovery. Pre-pandemic, millennials were marked by high income inequality that looked even starker along racial lines.
The pandemic has intensified this wealth divide, with some millennials faring well and others continuing to struggle, mirroring America’s K-shaped recovery. But this divide exacerbated and even created other ones, with a huge impact on careers on the one hand, and the very concept of adulthood on the other.
Here’s how the pandemic has further fragmented the millennial generation.
Widening wealth inequality has been a feature of American life in the 21st century, but the coronavirus pandemic has amplified a growing gap within the millennial generation.
Christine Percheski, demographer and associate professor of sociology at Northwestern University, previously told Insider that the pandemic has exacerbated the high income inequality that existed among millennials pre-Covid.
“This pandemic is widening economic inequalities within millennials, with some millennials relatively unscathed economically and others just completely financially devastated by unemployment losses, increased childcare costs, lost economic opportunities, and lingering health problems that they or family members are going to experience,” she said.
Millennials who already had lower earnings prepandemic and millennials with children are among those in the generation suffering the most right now, she added. Those who found themselves unemployed are likely “burning through whatever savings they had,” Percheski said.
On the other end of the spectrum is a group of wealthier millennials that’s been able to spend less disposable income than in non-COVID times and built up some savings during the pandemic, according to Percheski.
While some of these millennials are now allocating discretionary income toward savings, paying off debt, and investing in retirement, others have rushed to cash in on a stock market recovery.
This wealth gap has accentuated several other chasms within the millennial generation, such as a career gap.
During the peak of the pandemic in April, 14.3% of millennials were unemployed. And while some millennials may have escaped job loss, not all skirted past pandemic pay cuts.
Many of these millennials like …read more
Source:: Business Insider