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Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials all have had their stresses and challenges, but none had to come of age during an unprecedented global shutdown.
In Europe, the new generation born just before and after the year 2000 is now being referred to in some circles as “Generation Lockdown.”
While it’s well documented that over 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths have been the elderly (in the U.K., around 75 percent of those who died have been over 75 years old), it’s the younger generation suffering the greatest economic pain.
Based on data provided by the International Labor Organization (ILO), more than one out of every six aged 18 to 29 are not working since COVID-19 hit this year. And even those who’ve kept their jobs have seen their hours drop by almost 25 percent. The situation for this generation is bleak around the world as data shows more than four in ten people in the 15-to-24 age group are currently employed in job sectors hit hard by the pandemic.
Countries in southern Europe have been hit the hardest. Youth unemployment in France, Spain, Italy, and Greece are all at levels higher than anywhere else on the continent. One reason is the importance of tourism.
The European Central Bank has issued an analysis predicting unemployment to surge to over 12 percent by 2021, which calculates to some seven million additional jobs lost.
Given the bleak economic situation caused by the shutdown, this young generation, already on the financial edge from the 2008 mortgage meltdown, is suffering from emotional issues, particularly depression.
The European research and public health institute Sciensano published a report last April showing the number of young people aged 16 to 24 feeling depressed has tripled for women and quadrupled for men. The study had over 44,000 respondents.
The lead director of the survey, Stefaan Demarest, said the depression levels also rose in other age categories. He said, “But they are most pronounced among young people. They went to school, saw friends or went out. This is now all coming to an abrupt end.”  He referred to the rising levels of depression among young adults as “a gigantic upsurge.”

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