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Impact of coronavirus (Covid-19)

Since the start of the pandemic there has been a large increase in unemployment and a large fall in unemployment for young people aged 16-24.

Comparing the latest quarter, July-September 2020, with the pre-pandemic quarter of December 2019-February 2020:

· Unemployment for young people has increased by 88,000, a 17% increase. The increase for men was 65,000, a 22% increase, while the increase for women was 23,000, a 11% increase.

· The unemployment rate has increased to 14.6% from 11.8%

· The number of young people in employment has fallen by 306,000, an 8% fall. Slightly more men than women have left employment, although the fall for both was 8%.

· Almost 200,000 more young people were economically inactive.

The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits has increased by 281,000 from March 2020 to October, an increase of 120%. Some of this increase will be due to employed people who have become eligible for Universal Credit as part of the government response.

As at 31 August, over 500,000 jobs held by those aged 24 or under were on furlough, which was 13% of eligible jobs. Almost two million jobs held by young people, and almost half of eligible jobs, were furloughed at some point between March and the end of July.

More information can be found in the Library briefing Coronavirus: Impact on the labour market.

602,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in July-September 2020, an increase of 53,000 from the previous quarter and an increase of 101,000 from the year before. This is the highest level of youth unemployment since 2016, although by historical standards, unemployment levels for young people remain low.

The number of young people in employment fell by 174,000 from the previous quarter, and by 191,000 from the previous year to 3.52 million.

The number who are economically inactive (not in or looking for work) increased by 112,000 from a quarter before, and by 48,000 from the previous year to 2.74 million.

The unemployment rate (the proportion of the economically active population who are unemployed) for 16-24 year olds was 14.6% in July-September 2020. This is up from 12.9% in the previous quarter and from 11.9% a year before.

Youth Unemployment across Europe

In April-June 2020, the UK youth unemployment rate was 12.3%, compared to 16.1% for the European Union.

Spain had the highest rate of youth unemployment in April-June 2020 at 37.6%. The Czech Republic had the lowest youth unemployment rate at 7.0%.


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