Millennial workers have been hardest hit by pandemic pay cuts

  • More millennials received a pandemic pay cut than any other generation, according to a new Magnify Money survey.
  • However, they were more likely to be employed as Gen Z was hit hardest in terms of unemployment.
  • Still, a pay cut isn't good news for a generation still recovering from the Great Recession.
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Millennials were most likely to see their paychecks slashed during the pandemic. 

Thirty-four percent of Americans received a pandemic pay cut, according to a new Magnify Money survey that polled nearly 1,000 Americans working full-time. Of that group, 38% of millennials had a pay cut compared to 32% of Gen Xers and 20% of baby boomers.

Younger workers have been slammed during the coronavirus recession, as recessions typically hit young adults hardest in the short term. A July Bankrate and YouGov survey revealed that 60% of those ages 18 to 34, which spans both Gen Z and millennials, said the pandemic affected their household income for the worse.

When unemployment peaked in April, per St. Louis Fed data, 14.3% of millennials were unemployed. That's not as bad as Gen Z, who were hit hardest by an unemployment rate of nearly 27%. So, while millennials' finances were less affected by unemployment, they were more affected by pay cuts.

The bright side is that more than half (53%) of millennials who received pay cuts in the Magnify Money survey have already seen their salary restored. But a pay cut for any length of time is still the last thing millennials need.

The generation has been dealing with a nationwide affordability crisis since the Great Recession ended, balancing increasing living costs and massive student-loan debt with stagnating wages. That means they're already financially behind as they stare down their second recession before their oldest members hit 40, causing them to delay life milestones like getting married and buying a home. 

The pandemic is just the latest set back in this line of financial obstacles.

"Millennials have lifelong damage, given the severity of the Great Recession," Mark Muro, a senior fellow and policy director at the Brookings Institution, previously told Business Insider. "They're still overshadowed by it, with new consequential burdens coming at them."

Generation Z from Insider Intelligence

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