Younger workers have been hit hardest by the pandemic, new research shows.
ESRI research shows there were 112,000 fewer people aged between 15 and 34 working in the last three months of 2020 compared to a year earlier.
Employment was 14% below its pre-pandemic level for those aged 15-34 - compared to just 6% below for those aged over 35.
It's partially because younger workers tend to be involved in hospitality, arts and entertainment, which are some of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic.
Several of those sectors have only reopened for short periods over the past year, and may not be allowed fully reopen until the late summer or beyond.
However, researchers are also warning there are 'still-lingering' effects from the post-2007 financial crisis - and the current situation could compound those effects.
ESRI Economist Barra Roantree says there are reasons to be worried about the lasting impact, even as people start returning to work.
He told Breakfast Briefing: "We know that spells of unemployment can have longer-term consequences, particularly when the experience comes at the start of working life.
"There's real cause to be concerned because young adults were already experiencing a labour market which hadn't fully recovered from the financial crisis compared to the one for older adults."
The study also shows home ownership rates have collapsed for younger people - from 61% at age 30 for those born in the 1960s, to just 32% for young adults born in the 1980s.
Mr Roantree said the issues of home ownership and unemployment feed in together, along with earnings "stagnating" for young adults who've entered the labour market in recent years.