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Coronavirus crisis could drive youth unemployment to one million this year

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

An extra 600,000 young adults could be pushed into unemployment this year as a result of the coronavirus crisis, a think tank has warned.

In a report, the Resolution Foundation said unemployment among the 18-24-year-old population could hit one million.

It is urging the government to improve job prospects for young people who are expected to leave education in 2020.

One recommendation is a scheme to help them stay on in education longer to build up their skills.

Evidence from previous recessions shows young people who’ve just left full-time education are hit harder than other age groups.

Around 800,000 18-24-year-olds are expected to leave education this year, when – according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) scenario – unemployment is forecast to rise by 6 percentage points – twice as large as the increase following the financial crisis.

The report said those leaving education this year are likely to face reduced pay and employment prospects even after the economy has recovered.

Kathleen Henehan, research and policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The 800,000 young people set to leave education this year amid an unprecedented economic crisis are facing huge immediate unemployment risks, and longer-term damage to their careers.

“The ‘corona class of 2020’ could face years of reduced pay and limited job prospects, long after the current economic storm has passed, unless the Government provides additional support – and fast.

“A new maintenance support scheme could help thousands stay in education and build-up their skills, while those entering the labour market for the first time should be supported by a Job Guarantee offering critical employment experience.”