US election 2020: The young people struggling in the 2020 economy

US election 2020: The young people struggling in the 2020 economy
The pandemic has had a disproportionate economic impact on young people. And in the US, where the crisis is colliding with a bitter presidential election, the strains are expected to leave a mark on their politics, further widening the gap with older, more conservative generations.

In January, Joshua Boyer was on the cusp of living his version of the American Dream. The 30-year-old was planning to launch a career in social work, start a family with his fiancée in a few years, and eventually buy a house.

The pandemic, he says, "changed everything".

Five months after graduating with his master s degree, he remains without a job, despite applying to some 300 openings - including positions at warehouses, restaurants and grocery stores. This month, as the financial assistance he was getting as a military veteran expired, he moved in with his fiancée s family in Oregon, giving up his Portland-area apartment.

It all feels eerily familiar to Joshua, who graduated from high school in 2008, when the world was in the midst of the global financial crisis. At the time, he entered the military to escape the desolate prospects facing him in the labour market, which he saw stalling the lives of many of his peers.

image captionJoshua Boyer wonders if the pandemic will mean "another lost generation"

"Having gone through both of these recessions, it feels like more of the same," he says. "Everyone is going to understand this giant gap in my employment history right now, but that s still my biggest fear... are we going to be another lost generation?"
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