The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt by millions of workers, including a record-breaking 30.3 million Americans who have filed for unemployment over the past six weeks.
Young people are feeling some of the harshest impacts when it comes to job prospects. According to data from job site Glassdoor, the number of open internships in the U.S. has been cut in half due to coronavirus.
Between March 9th and April 13th, Glassdoor saw a 52% decrease in internship openings. When comparing April 2019 to April 2020, internship hiring has fallen by 39%.
These figures are worse than the overall labor market. Total job openings on Glassdoor have declined by a still staggering but significantly lower 20.5%.
While internship opportunities have been eliminated across a wide range of industries, some sectors have been disproportionately impacted.
The decrease in internship openings has been most apparent in the travel and tourism industry, which saw a 92% decrease in internship opportunities since March 9th. Total job openings decreased by 73.1% in the industry.
Internships in information technology, architecture/civil engineering, telecommunications and media/publishing also saw the number of open internships decrease by more than half.
Amanda Stansell, a senior economic research analyst for Glassdoor tells CNBC Make It that this trend will make it significantly harder for young people hoping to get workforce experience.
“College students are dipping their toes into the labor market during a very difficult time. There will likely be more competition for internships that are still open but students and new graduates shouldn’t feel discouraged if they are unable to lock down an internship this summer,” she says. “It’s important to remember that if their internship was canceled, it’s not a reflection of their character or quality as a candidate. We are living in unprecedented times and employers are being forced to make extremely difficult decisions quite quickly.”
To navigate this difficult internship market, she suggests young people keep their minds open to a wide range of opportunities, noting that there are still thousands of openings in accounting, legal and computer engineering fields.
“Now is the time for students and new graduates to broaden their horizons on the types of internships they apply for and consider roles in different locations if the position is available remotely,” she says. “Plus, they can use this time to see where any skill gaps are for a potential full-time job and leverage free online resources to learn new skills.”
While there may be some signs of hope, these cuts to internship programs will likely have significant ramifications for the careers of young people today in the future.
“Internships are often a sort of a probationary period for students that might get full-time jobs and employers predominantly use internship programs as part of their full-time recruiting process,” says Edwin Koc, director of research, public policy and legislative affairs for the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Halting internship programs puts this pipeline, and the futures of many young people, in jeopardy.