US jobs gap between young and old is widest ever

WASHINGTON (AP) — An analysis by the Pew Research Center, released in the 2nd week of February 2012, detailed the impact of the recent recession on the struggles of the young Americans. They have suffered bigger income losses than other age groups and are less likely to be employed than at any time since World War II.

With government data showing record gaps in employment between young and old, a Pew survey found that 41 percent of Americans believe that younger adults have been hit harder than any other group, compared with 29 percent who say middle-aged Americans and 24 percent who point to seniors 65 and older. A wide majority of the public — at least 69 percent — also said it's more difficult for today's young adults than their parents' generation to pay for college, find a job, buy a home or save for the future.

Among young adults ages 18 to 34, only a third rated their financial situation as "excellent" or "good," compared with 54 percent for seniors age 65 and over. In 2004, before the recession began, about half of both young and older adults rated their own financial situation highly.

The latest numbers offered a mixed picture for young adults, many of them minorities, whose strong turnout and 2-1 support for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 buoyed him to election. As voters this year point to the economy as their top concern, a slew of recent census data have underscored the difficulties of young adults: in record numbers, they are shunning long-distance moves in the economic downturn to live with mom and dad, delaying marriage and raising kids out of wedlock, if they're becoming parents at all.

Pew based its findings on Bureau of Labor Statistics data as well as a poll of 2,048 adults interviewed by cellphone or landline from Dec. 6-19, 2011. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for all respondents, higher for subgroups.

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