This paper is concerned with what the economic recession and rising youth unemployment might mean for young people's trajectories into adulthood. It is based on a qualitative longitudinal study that has been tracking young people's lateral relationships over the past four years or more. A series of case studies are used, drawing on Brannen and colleagues' four-fold transitions typology which highlights the structural forces underpinning the choices young people are able to make. The paper argues that young people enter a period of economic recession with prior resources and particular trajectories already in play in their lives. Thus, for the young people in this study, rather than recession bringing about a changed or fractured pathway into adulthood, it is providing a certain set of conditions for embedding particular, pre-existing trajectories.