It’s no secret that the economy has affected the majority of Americans in some way or another, but a recent report suggests that one age group may be having a tougher time than most.

A Pew Research Center survey found that 41 percent of the public believes young adults, those ages 18 to 34, are having the toughest time in today’s economy, and the center’s analysis of government economic data backs up that perception. At the end of 2011, the unemployment rate for 18- to 24-year-olds was 16.3 percent, compared with 8.8 percent overall – making the gap in the unemployment rate between young adults and all working-age adults the widest in recorded history.

Additionally, the young adults who have found full-time jobs have seen a greater drop in weekly earnings than any other age group during the past five years – down 6 percent.

Those high unemployment numbers and low earnings are making it harder for young professionals to save for the future or make long-term plans. The study found that 75 percent believe it’s harder now to save for the future, 71 percent believe it’s harder to pay for college and 69 percent believe it’s harder to buy a home.

Likewise, nearly half of young adults say they have taken a job they didn’t want just to pay the bills, with 24 percent saying they have taken an unpaid job to gain work experience.

Personal lives have taken a hit, too, with 31 percent postponing either getting married or having a baby due to financial uncertainties, and 24 percent saying they have had to move back in with their parents after living on their own.

The report is based on a survey of 2,048 adults nationwide, including 808 young adults (ages 18 to 34) from Dec. 6-19, 2011. The report also draws on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.