Workers under the age of 25 could be hardest-hit by COVID-19 layoffs in the U.S., according to data by HR outsourcing firm Gusto. The company’s May 1st report suggests Gen Z workers have experienced a 93 per cent higher rate of layoffs than Millennials in the 35 and older group.

Lower-income employees appear more likely to be losing their jobs, with hourly workers who earn less than $20 per hour experiencing a 115 per cent higher rate of layoffs, when compared to workers making $30 or more per hour. 

“This can be partly attributed to the over-representation of hourly employees on lower wages across service-based industries, which have borne the brunt of COVID-19-related business closures,” Gusto says in its report, noting that as of March 1, the tourism, accommodation, and food and beverage sectors have been the hardest hit by the pandemic.


Gusto used data from its customer base as of March 1, 2020, and made notes of the recent layoffs in its system. On its website, the company says it works with more than 100,000 small businesses across the U.S. — but while the survey encompasses “data points with meaningful sample sizes” the company says the findings may not be “fully representative” of industry and geographic breakdown of all small businesses across the country.


While the data separates workers by industry and age, there is no analysis on the gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status of the affected workers — which could provide further insight, given that racial, sexual, and intersectional minorities are high-risk population segments amid the pandemic.

Earlier this month, UN independent human rights experts called on governments to commit to racial equity and equality in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The call-to-action comes amid reports that African Americans are significantly more likely to die from COVID-19 when compared to other races in parts of the U.S., even in areas where the population is predominantly white.

And stay-at-home orders could be particularly harmful to all members of the LGBTQ community, who may be forced to isolate in unsupportive households, without access to much-needed support systems.

Little by little, data is emerging that is helping to paint a picture of how the pandemic is affecting different segments of the population. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, an increasing number of large and small-scale surveys — as well as peer-reviewed research — will come to light, allowing for increasingly accurate analysis.