Screenshot by NPR
If you want to know how Gen-Z feels about something, then TikTok is a great place to start. According to new Google data, 40% of Generation Z prefer TikTok as a search engine. So it’s no surprise that when it comes to inflation, how hot they are is all over the app.
Pasha Grozdov, a TikToker with 430,000 followers whose biography writes “your savage passion, gives you positive vibes” and his videos dramatize daily events that reflect the love that feeling. In one of his videos, he mocks Gen Z and their nihilistic response to inflation.
It’s not hard to find new TikTok users entering adulthood complaining about inflation on TikTok. From mocking the prices of grocery items to increasing the cost of fast food.
But not everything is fun and games. Apparently this generation has some real concern, also. Talked to Gen Z about TikTok and many expressed feelings of despair.
Marcus Macal is 25 years old and because of the high rent, he has yet to move out of his family home in New Jersey, despite working full time.
“I know personally I don’t travel as I would like,” he said. “I don’t go out to eat like I want. I don’t hang out with friends like I want. It’s Saturday night and I stay home because it’s free.”
Katie Webster, a classical accent student at Azusa Pacific University, graduated the following May and was beginning to feel the pressure of starting her career in this economic situation.
“There is a lot of anxiety about graduating and getting a place off campus or finding a place to live,” she says. “I was faced with maybe never owning a house, or maybe never having a really big retirement. Those are the things that you have to start right now and I don’t know. whether I can do it or not.”
Nowadays, it’s easier for children
But despite the worries of Generation Z, economists actually believe that young people are better off when it comes to weather-driven inflation. Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, said she can understand why inflation is such a big stressor for people just entering adulthood.
“Inflation has been pretty steady at two percent over your lifetime and even, some of your parents’ lives,” she said. “And suddenly, we hit 2021 and it’s like, what’s going on?”
1 or 2% inflation in Generation Z’s childhood is currently around 8%. But in Stevenson’s eyes, that generation is actually in a much better position than the elders.
“They should consider themselves lucky for being at such a young age than someone who has seen their life savings eroded by inflation as we speak,” says Stevenson.
Now, they hold a truly valuable asset — flexibility, which Stevenson says is crucial in a high-inflation environment. Young people easily switch jobs or move somewhere with better opportunities.
“What we’re seeing right now in the current economy is that people who are changing jobs are getting the biggest pay rise,” says Stevenson. “So look around and look for another job that might be willing to pay you more, or use that outside offer to negotiate with your current boss.”
Generation Z wages are growing every year twice as fast as Millennials and Generation X
According to the Pew Research Centermore than half of the nearly 50 million workers who quit for something new during the Great Resignation saw their real earnings rise.
While wages have gone up for all workers this year, that’s especially true for Generation Z. Their wages are growing every year twice as fast as Millennials and Gen X.
Kyla Scanlon, 25, does TikToks explaining the economy to her 140,000 followers.
She agrees that young people tend to be less affected by inflation, but she also notes, “young people are often earlier in their income cycle. So they are often not earning. as much as the older generation.”
She said Gen Zers still have to buy groceries, buy gas and pay bills like rent, which have increased by at least 15% since last year, so the experience can be the same regardless of age.
So Gen Z may be better off financially in the long run but Stevenson and Scanlon agree – those who earn less will feel more inflation.