The weak economy is having an impact on America's young adults -- a generation of mostly 20- and 30-somethings coming of age in a prolonged slump, with high unemployment.
New 2010 census data released Thursday shows the recession is particularly tough on those trying to break into the job market.
"We have a monster jobs problem, and young people are the biggest losers," said Andrew Sum, an economist and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.
Record numbers of young adults are still living with their parents, delaying marriage and buying fewer homes.
The young demographic, 16-29, faces the highest unemployment rate since World War II -- at 55.3 percent, down from 67.3 percent in 2000.
Economists say there will be a ripple effect for at least a decade from missed economic opportunities.
"These people will be scarred, and they will be called the `lost generation' -- in that their careers would not be the same way if we had avoided this economic disaster," explained Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard University.