Almost half of Americans say they or someone in their household have lost employment income in the last three months, according to new government figures.
A weekly survey by the Census Bureau found that 119 million Americans, or 48 percent of those 18 and over, have reported a loss of income since March 13, the day President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 42 million Americans have filed unemployment insurance claims in the last 11 weeks. The Labor Department said Thursday that nearly 1.9 million more people filed claims the previous week, a sign that job losses continue to mount.
The toll is falling most heavily on those at the lowest end of the economic spectrum. A majority of Americans living in households that make less than $100,000 a year reported losing income since mid-March, including substantial majorities of those who make less than $35,000 a year.
Black and Hispanic households were more likely to say they had lost income than not, and majorities of those who had not attained a bachelor's degree said they had lost income.
About 10 percent of Americans reported they experienced food scarcity in the last week. That number is higher, about 14 percent, among households that include children under the age of 18. Among African American households with young children, nearly 23 percent said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat. Among Hispanic households with children, that figure stood at 18 percent, compared to just 9 percent of white households.
Other reports show the coronavirus-caused recession is falling most heavily on millennials, the younger workers who struggled through the Great Recession and were only just beginning to make real economic progress before the pandemic hit. More than 5.5 million millennials have become unemployed since January.
An analysis by the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve shows millennials were poorly positioned to weather a new downturn. Older millennials, those born in the 1980s, are the only segment of the population to have seen their financial position decline through the last decade, even as the economy performed at record levels.
"Young adult Americans are facing very serious economic upheaval. As a group, they had not yet fully recovered from the Great Recession when the COVID-19 pandemic hit," St. Louis Fed analyst Ana Kent wrote. "Millennials' financial fragility hurts not only these individuals, their families and others who rely on them but also the economy as a whole."
Millennials had smaller shares of household wealth compared to older generations at the same age; about 1 in 4 millennial families had a negative net worth, meaning they owe debts greater than their assets. That makes the millennial generation more vulnerable to short-term financial shocks than any other age group.