If medical evidence shows young people to be least affected by coronavirus, they are most likely to suffer economically.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies reports that employees aged under 25 are about two and a half times as likely to work in a sector that is now closing down.
Some economists are predicting that because of large large falls in output, unemployment might reach 6 million even by the end of May taking the jobless rate to over 20%. If this is the case, then youth unemployment, which has fallen significantly in recent months would rise astronomically.
The IFS figures don’t include the 600 000 full-time students currently working part-time – a group that could be hit particularly badly because they do mostly low-waged work ( IFS reports a strong link between wage levels and sector shut down rates) and won’t be included in any ‘furlong’ arrangements.
Students who were due to be taking finals this year still face uncertainties about assessment procedures, because of shut downs downs, while some universities are axing temporary teaching staff because of loss of fees from non returning foreign students.
Young people were the group most hit by the financial crisis of 2007/8. While employment rates might have held up relatively well during the crash, because of the ‘austerity’ programme that followed, it took several years for them to restore their over all economic position. It wasn’t just those in low paid and insecure jobs that suffered, graduate recruitment cycles were also seriously disrupted.
With the increasing likelihood of a post-virus ‘depression’ rather than merely a downturn, new policies for youth will be essential this time.