Ryan Fontana beat Stanley Joseph into this world by two weeks.

Both are 26, both live in Philadelphia, and both graduated from college in 2007, just as the economy slid into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Both are also in the world of technology, but Fontana has an apartment in Society Hill and a job at a company so hip that it has its headquarters in a converted church in the trendy Northern Liberties neighborhood.

Joseph, an unemployed network administrator and tech-support person who lives with his parents, spends his time looking for work and building a server to keep his skills sharp.

It would be nice to think that technology and the myriad categories of jobs that go with it would be enough to save people in their 20s from the huge toll that unemployment is taking on their generation.

Except for Fontana’s ability to straddle marketing and the digital world, he might be in Joseph’s place.

Young workers in the region lost their jobs at about three times the rate of all workers from the recession’s start in 2007 until 2010, the most recent data available. Meanwhile, workers 55 and older gained jobs.

“Across the board, kids have lost more than their share,” said Paul Harrington, director of Drexel University’s Center for Labor Markets and Policy.

When the U.S. Labor Department released its March jobs report, the news remained grim. The unemployment rate for the nation’s youngest workers, aged 16 to 24, was 16.4 percent in March, double the nation’s rate of 8.2 percent, with 3.5 million unemployed. Of the 3.5 million, two million were aged 20 to 24, an unemployment rate of 13.2 percent.

Although Philadelphia’s tech sector is expanding – with jobs in cybersecurity, search-engine optimization and product development – it is far from replacing the factory jobs that once allowed the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to proudly describe the city as “The World’s Greatest Workshop.”

Where are the jobs for young people such as Stanley Joseph, a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where he majored in communication and minored in information technology?

In some ways, the problems affecting young people are the problems affecting all. The recession, while officially over, remains a nearly jobless recovery, leaving a deficit of more than 10 million jobs lost or not created since the recession began in 2007.

Not only has the country failed to recover those jobs, but entry-level positions have especially taken a hit.

Areas that typically welcome young workers – teaching, office work, manufacturing, and construction – have seen first-rung jobs evaporate.

Here’s a window into the trend: Job postings for entry-level positions fell 49 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007, when the recession began, to the fourth quarter of 2011, as employers filled the few openings they had with experienced workers, according to Beyond.com, a King of Prussia company that runs online job boards.

Beginning jobs in many fields also tend to be the ones most readily shipped abroad or overtaken by automation. (Think online banking, factory robots or self-service checkout at stores.)

“When a job is repetitious or rule-based, some smart engineer can devise some kind of algorithm to handle the work, sharply reducing the need for people with high school diplomas or less,” said Drexel’s Harrington.

Said Carl Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University: “This 10- to 15-year period is a wrenching transition to a new economy, and young people are caught in the middle.”