Young people – particularly young black people – have been the hardest hit by the rise in unemployment during the Covid-19 pandemic, an economic think tank has warned.
Black youth unemployment has risen from 25% to 35% amidst coronavirus, research by the Resolution Foundation (RF) has found, almost three-times as high as their white peers.
Unemployment amongst young people of Asian heritage hit 24%, up from 21%, while it increased from 10% to 13% for their white counterparts.
The RF – which focuses on those on low and middle incomes – said the young had borne the brunt of the job losses because they disproportionately worked in sectors such as hospitality and leisure, which have been worst affected by the crisis.
It found that between April to June and July to September 2020, the unemployment rate among 18 to 24-year-olds rose from 11.5% to 13.6% – an 18% increase, representing the largest quarter-on-quarter rise among this age group since 1992.
It said that people aged 16 to 24 also accounted for 57% of the fall in employment between the three months to January 2020 and the three months to January 2021.
The RF said those leaving education during the coronavirus pandemic had faced particular difficulties, with unemployment among non-graduate leavers rising from 14% to 18% between 2019 and 2020 – a 28% increase.
Among graduates, it was up from 10% to 14% – a rise of 40%.
Kathleen Henehan, a senior research and policy analyst at the RF, said the government should prioritise the employment prospects for young people as the economy recovers.
“The furlough scheme has done a fantastic job of minimising job losses amidst unprecedented shutdowns of our economy,” she said.
“But young people have still experienced a sharp rise in unemployment during the Covid-19 crisis – with recent education-leavers and young black people being hardest hit.
“Young people have sacrificed their livelihoods in order to save the lives of others from Covid-19, and putting their careers back on track must be a priority for government in the months and years ahead.”