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'Great recession' hits Millennials hardest

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Paul Sancya/AP/File

(Read caption) Reginald Murphey views online job listings while attending a job fair in Detroit Feb. 10. Millennials have been the hardest hit group of the 'great recession,' according to a new report by the Pew Research Group.

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Millennials are the most technologically connected generation. They are also the most tattooed and the least religious.

And they have been the hardest hit by the "great recession."

Full-time employment among Millennials has dropped significantly – by 9 percentage points – since 2006, while the percentage has remained largely unchanged for older working-age adults, according to the Pew Research Center, which profiled the generation aged 18 to 29 in a report released Wednesday.

As entry-level employees, Millennials are often the last ones hired and the first ones fired in a troubled economy, the report asserted.

This means that many 20-somethings are missing out on valuable work experiences and wages, a loss that may take years to make up.

“The labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy are large, negative and persistent,” writes Yale economist Lisa Kahn in an August 2009 paper.

Take wages. For every percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, Millennials initially lost 6 to 7 percent in wages, according to Ms. Kahn.

Millennials’ suffering income may help explain why so many – more than a third, according to Pew – are leaning on Mom and Dad for financial support. While this is partially due to a large number of students, about 1 in 7 Millennials with a full-time job – and about half who work part time – say family members help them get by financially.

While the outlook feels bleak, it doesn’t seem that way for the youngest Americans in the workforce. Less than a third of currently employed Millennials report that they earn enough now to support the lifestyle they want, but nearly 90 percent believe they eventually will. Only about three-quarters of Gen-Xers and a little under half of baby boomers reported the same optimism about their future earnings.

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