Coronavirus is sinking the 2020 internship class, new LinkedIn data suggests - and it could impact Gen-Z careers for years

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Employers across the United States have slashed their internship programs as the coronavirus pandemic cuts profits.

The number of new internship roles posted on LinkedIn's job boards is down approximately 60% since March 1, the career-oriented social media platform said in a statement to Business Insider.Advertisement

The cutbacks could cripple the career trajectories of college students and recent graduates who often rely on internships to gain experience working in their fields, introduce themselves to future employers, and financially support themselves through the school year. Many studies have shown that landing of internships - especially more than one - leads to employment down the line.

LinkedIn said that during this time last year, the number of internships posted on its site was growing as companies recruited their summer intern classes amid record-low unemployment. But amid the coronavirus outbreak that killed more than 14,000 Americans and forced authorities across the country to close nonessential businesses and enact shelter in place orders, just a handful of industries - like consumer goods or chemical, mechanical, and industrial engineering - have actually posted more internship roles than they did last year, per LinkedIn.

Yelp, Glassdoor, and StubHub are among the companies that have reduced their internship programs, TechCrunch reported. In some cases, students had already signed offer letters only to have those offers revoked.
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The cutbacks come at the same time college students are also having to grapple with the shift of their spring semester going online, the cancellation of rites of passage including senior weeks and commencement exercises, and starting to hunt for jobs in a job market shocked by mass layoffs. An unprecedented 16.8 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits in the past three weeks alone.

The economic crisis caused but the pandemic will likely have an outsize effect on America's young people. Not only are their fewer internship opportunities, Gen Z workers are also nearly three times as likely to have been laid off from their current jobs because of the coronavirus than older Americans, according to a study by Harris Polls.People who entered the workforce during the Great Recession - that is, older millennials - had their careers largely handicapped as a result. Now it's looking like the same could happen with Gen-Z and COVID-19.Advertisement

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