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ISU resarch shows 37.5% of working young adults lost jobs this spring

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July 14th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – New Iowa State University research suggests young people between the ages of 16 and 24 have been hardest hit by job losses during the pandemic. I-S-U economics professor John Winters says the analysis indicates 37-and-a-half percent of those younger workers lost their jobs this spring. “Young workers actually had the largest employment losses among any group,” Winters says. “Black workers, Hispanic workers had much larger employment losses than whites and then we also found differences by education, so less educated worker had larger losses and lower income workers had larger employment losses.”

The percentage of American teenagers in the workforce has been falling over the past two decades and Winters says there are a number of theories as to why that’s happening. “But obviously the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated that, ” Winters says. “The employment rates for teenagers in the 16-17, but if you also go up to 18-19 (year olds), employment rates for those young people have fallen dramatically.”

The research Winters and an I-S-U graduate student conducted also suggests many workers who’ve lost their jobs during the pandemic have stopped searching for work. “It probably means that the official unemployment rates are actually understating the true magnitude of the pandemic on employment outcomes,” he says. In a separate study, Winters and two I-S-U graduate students found a link between job losses and coronavirus cases — the higher the infection rate, the greater the percentages of layoffs in a metro area.