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How The Coronavirus Pandemic Hurt Younger Workers in NYC

“The rapid speed at which this economic struggle has happened is like nothing before,” said Keith Rasmussen, the executive director. His group’s job placements for young adults are down by roughly two-thirds this year largely because young workers have been pushed aside by a flood of older, more experienced job seekers.

State and city officials said they were helping young adults through existing job programs and services, including offering businesses a state tax credit for hiring unemployed, disadvantaged youth. In addition, new courses are being developed to help people of all ages learn job skills online.

“We know the value of connecting young people to jobs, career readiness and other important life skills, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic downturn,” said Mark Zustovich, a spokesman for the city’s department of youth and community development.

The pandemic job losses have especially hurt young workers who are Black, Hispanic or do not have a college degree — they have even higher rates of unemployment than younger workers as a whole, Ms. Aaronson’s report found. They are also more likely to be struggling because their families do not have the resources to support them.

“The reality is for the young adults who were having trouble finding employment before the pandemic, the pandemic put them further behind,” said Gregory J. Morris, the executive director of the Isaacs Center, a social service provider in New York.

Sapphire Cornwall, 20, got her first job in 2018 as a sales associate at a branch of The Children’s Place in the Bronx. She lost it in March when the store closed during the pandemic and never reopened.

She initially collected $650 a week in unemployment benefits after taxes, more than she earned at her job, but that shrank to $125 a week after a federal supplement of $600 ended in July. Since then, she has used up more than $1,600 in savings to cover her rent and groceries.

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