One in 10 young people aged between 16 and 24 has lost their job since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to new research.
A report, Generation Covid and Social Mobility: Evidence and Policy, published today by the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), says that around six in 10 young people have seen their earnings fall, and that young workers are twice as likely to have lost their jobs compared with older employees.
The research also found that employment and earnings losses were more pronounced for women, the self-employed and those who grew up in a poor family.
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Background: Youth unemployment could rise by 600,000
Stephen Machin, director of the CEP and report co-author, said that the trajectories heading towards long-term unemployment were concerning.
Coronavirus: The impact on youth employment
“These are unprecedented hits to the labour market for young adults in particular," he said. "There is a real concern that people who have lost their jobs are moving on to trajectories heading to long-term unemployment, the costs of which are substantial.”
A survey revealed that university students from the lowest-income backgrounds lost 52 per cent of their normal teaching hours as a result of lockdown, but those from the highest income groups suffered a smaller loss of 40 per cent.
A total of 63 per cent of the university students who took part in the study said their wellbeing has been affected by the pandemic. Some 62 per cent said their long-term plans have been affected, and 68 per cent said they believed their future educational achievement would be affected by the coronavirus.
Disadvantaged students hit the hardest
Lee Elliot Major, professor of social mobility at the University of Exeter and a report co-author, said that there was a danger of “permanent educational scarring”.
“We are seeing large and sustained losses in education for school pupils and university students in the wake of the pandemic, with those from lower-income backgrounds particularly suffering," he said. "The big danger for pupils is that they suffer permanent educational scarring – missing out on key grades that can shape future life prospects.”
Andrew Eyles, research economist at the CEP, said: “Our research findings of substantial and continuing education loss add to growing evidence that disadvantaged students have fallen behind their more privileged peers due to differences in school provision, and the stark home-learning divide in study space, computers and internet connectivity and access to paid tutoring.”