US News Gen Zers are taking on more debt, roommates, and jobs as their economy gets worse and worse


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Anthony Strain was desperate for another roommate.

The 26-year-old from Pittsburgh is currently unemployed, $50,000 in debt, and falling behind on his gas and electricity payments. To provide "financial breathing room" and help shoulder their $800 monthly rent, Strain said he and his partner found another person to move in with them and help split the bills.

"We wanted this system to minimize the average cost per person of living here," he said, adding that the trio splits the costs of rent, utilities, and subscriptions to streaming platforms.

Strain isn't the only young American experiencing financial challenges right now. Amounts of credit-card debt and delinquency rates are on the rise, especially among 18- to 29-year-olds. It comes as most economists predict a recession in 2023, as inflation is up 7.7% versus this time in 2021, and as rents — while beginning to fall in some cities — remain elevated. It's caused young Americans to take out more debt, bring on more roommates, and pick up more work.

To be sure, not all Gen Zers are struggling. Americans aged 16 to 24 have seen a wage growth of 13% over the last year — well above the 7.7% inflation over the same period — as companies have raised pay to attract workers. But if a recession comes, Gen Zers could be among the hardest hit due to mounting debt, few savings, and vulnerability to layoffs.


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