Youth unemployment hits highest level in four decades after lockdown job losses


Britain is gripped by the highest youth unemployment for four decades, analysts warn today.

A quarter of a million young people – one in five – who were furloughed during the coronavirus lockdown has since lost their jobs, according to the Resolution Foundation.

Its experts said the scale of unemployment identified in a new survey suggests an unemployment rate of seven per cent in September – well above the latest official figures of 4.5% in the three months to August.

It rises to 20% among 18 to 24-year-olds – meaning the UK is already facing the highest levels of youth unemployment in four decades.

The study also shows more than one-in-five black, Asian and ethnic minority workers furloughed at the height of the crisis is now out of work.

The meagre nature of the package spells hardship for many

Just one-in-three young people who have lost their jobs have been able to find new posts.

The think tank’s senior research and policy analyst Kathleen Henehan said: “The first eight months of the Covid crisis have been marked by an almighty economic shock and unprecedented support that has cushioned the impact in terms of people’s livelihoods.

“But the true nature of Britain’s jobs crisis is starting to reveal itself.

“Around one-in-five young people, and over one-in-five BAME workers, have fallen straight from furloughing into unemployment.

“Worryingly, fewer than half of those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic have been able to find work since.

“This suggests that even if the public health crisis recedes in a few months’ time, Britain’s jobs crisis will be with us for far longer.”

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The gloomy economic forecast came as the UK recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll since May.

Another 367 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 – taking the overall toll to 45,365.

The number of daily deaths is the highest daily figure since May 27, when 422 were reported.

Separate official figures put the overall number of deaths involving the disease at 61,000.

Another 22,885 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed.

Bracing the public for a surge in fatalities, Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle warned the death toll was set to spiral.

She said: “We continue to see the trend in deaths rising and it is likely this will continue for some time.

“Each day we see more people testing positive and hospital admissions increasing.

“Being seriously ill enough from the infection to need hospital admission can sadly lead to more Covid-related deaths.

“We can help to control this virus.

“We know that by washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering and socially distancing we can save lives by slowing the spread of the virus.”

Some 9,199 patients were in hospital with the disease, including 852 on ventilators.

As well as the death toll, the pandemic is having an increasingly dire impact on the economy.

The Resolution Foundation’s report, ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’, includes an online YouGov survey of 6,061 adults.

It lays bare the hammer blow the first eight months of the disease – and lockdowns to curb the spread of infection – have inflicted on Britain’s labour market.

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At the height of the pandemic in June, 8.9 million people were furloughed – a quarter of the workforce.

The initial stage of the scheme meant employees received 80% of their monthly salary up to £2,500.

But it began to be scaled back in September, leading to a surge in joblessness.

A less-generous replacement scheme announced last week by Chancellor Rishi Sunak is launched on Sunday as more parts of the country are hit with the toughest Tier 3 restrictions.

The post-furloughing fall into unemployment has been most common among 18-24-year olds, with 19% affected, and among black, Asian and ethnic minority employees, at 22%.

Some 22% if people who worked on “insecure contracts” also lost their jobs having been furloughed.

The report found just 43% of those who lost their jobs since March had found new work by September.

Only a third of young people had managed to get a new job, with just 36% of people in the hardest-hit sectors like hospitality, leisure and non-food retail winning a new position.

But the study says that while the crisis has so far disproportionately clobbered the youngest and lowest paid, there are signs the jobs disaster could ripple out to other ages and income brackets the longer it goes on.

Some 28% of those quizzed were either worried about redundancies, have been warned a redundancy process either may or will happen, or have been told they will be made redundant.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “This report shows that the worst fears of millions of families are being realised before our eyes.

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“Millions of people are struggling – especially young people and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

“None of them should be left to face this crisis alone.

“So many families have made unbelievable sacrifices over the past six months and the Government has repaid them by scrapping the furlough scheme, and pulling the rug out from under them.

Liberal Democrats are clear that the furlough scheme must continue at least until June 2021 – otherwise more jobs and livelihoods will be threatened.”





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