Opportunities for graduates are bleak. Many will be unable to find full-time work after finishing high school or completing a postsecondary program. The weaker labor market will also have long-lasting effects.
Closed businesses, for instance, will make finding any work challenging. The longer the “stay at home” restrictions last and the longer the economic downturn, the more graduates will settle for lower-paying occupations unrelated to their field of study.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize these adverse impacts. In the short term, job vacancies are likely to be extremely scarce. Youths might instead consider acquiring new skills, potentially through online courses, or even stay on in school. Now would be an excellent time to pursue a one- or two-year graduate program of interest that leads to higher earnings, a new career, or a chance to enter the labor market in better times.
As economies recover and businesses begin to hire, there are steps youths can take to minimize adverse effects from the recession. Those youths who are more mobile—switch jobs more often—recover faster. Getting back onto a steeper wage trajectory requires seizing better job opportunities when they come along. A willingness to move cities or to consider a wider range of industries will also help accelerate the recovery path.