Millennials won the Great Resignation. Now they're losing the Big Firing.
- Millennials were big drivers of the Great Resignation, seeking out better and higher-paying roles.
- After weathering the Great Recession and the pandemic, millennials jumped at the chance to job switch for a better deal.
When it comes to recessions (or potential ones), millennials just can't stop losing.
After weathering the Great Recession and the pandemic-induced recession, millennials emerged into a labor market that seemed at last ready for them. As millions of workers began quitting, some millennials were finally the most powerful group in the labor force. Younger workers in particular were especially eager to quit, continually driving the Great Resignation. It finally seemed like time for a millennial boon.
Then came the whispers of a slowdown.
The result of companies tightening their belts — and enacting layoffs — is a bit of a millennial job bloodbath. Revelio Labs, a workforce data provider, analyzed the demographics of who's getting laid off by perusing 17,000 workers who have lost their roles since March. Insider's Aki Ito reported on the results of that analysis, which found that some of the workers most likely to be let go are the newest hires, and the highest earners.
But of those laid off, one age group bore the brunt of the Big Firing: millennials. According to data from Revelio Labs and Layoffs.fyi, millennials make up about 79% of the workforce of the companies that had layoffs, but made up 94% of the laid-off workers.
In contrast, Gen Xers make up about 17% of the workforces that implemented layoffs, but only accounted for a little under 6% of layoffs.
Middle-of-the-pack millennials were especially hit by layoffs; while 30 to 34-year-olds made up 47% of the workforce, they were 37% of layoffs — singlehandedly making up over a third of the cuts. Coming in behind them were 35 to 39-year-olds, who made up about 21% of the workforce, and were 21% of layoffs.
Layoffs certainly aren't widespread yet, with job openings, hiring, and quitting remaining strong. The layoff rate stayed low in July, the latest month that the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data on. But of the cuts that have happened, millennials were disproportionately on the chopping block.
That certainly marks the end of the reign of geriatric Millennials, who were super powering the Great Resignation. For millennials, who are already carrying a heavy load of "financial baggage," the spate of layoffs is just another entry in their unlucky economic story. Millennials have already weathered enough downturns that they're offering Gen Zers advice for making it through a recession.
"I feel like we're always bracing for catastrophe," Robbie Barnhart, a 30-year-old millennial pilot, previously told Insider, adding: "Truly, we've seen shit hit the fans so many times that this current system that we have is not working out for us, specifically."
And, paradoxically, millennials might be targeted this time around because they're finally earning enough to merit budget-tightening through cutting their roles — but aren't important or high up enough to be deemed essential to keep.
Aki Ito contributed to this report.
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