It’s official: Young people are hit hardest by lockdown

The impacts of the pandemic could affect younger workers’ pay for years

Young people are the most likely to lose work and be hit the hardest by lockdown, according to reports.

Research by the Resolution Foundation claims more than a third of 18 to 24-year-olds are earning less money than before the outbreak of COVID-19. It also states younger workers’ pay is likely to be affected for years after.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, around 25 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds have been furloughed, meaning they no longer work but the government covers 80 per cent of their wages. A further nine per cent have lost their jobs completely. 18 to 24-year-olds have the highest percentage of furloughs and lost jobs out of all age groups.

The staff that work in pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and retail are more often young people. These are the industries that have remained closed throughout lockdown and are likely to be some of the last to reopen.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that across all ages, the number of people in the UK claiming unemployment benefit drastically increased last month. The figure went up by 856,500 to 2.097 million in April. Separate ONS figures showed UK unemployment rose by 50,000 to 1.35 million in the three months to March. Within these economic slumps, young people tend to be the most affected.

Jonathan Athow, from the ONS, added that hours worked “fell sharply” towards the end of March – particularly in areas like hospitality and construction.

Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, told the BBC the UK need to be prepared for a significant increase in unemployment, adding the government is particularly focusing on younger people in their plans to get everyone back to work.

Coffey said there are still jobs available in retail and agricultural work, but these will vary across the country. When asked about the claim that the younger generation’s incomes could be scarred for years, she said: “I think it’s too early to say anything like that at all.”

Related stories recommended by the writer:

£100m losses and massive pay cuts: The drastic steps unis are taking to avoid ruin

These students have had their contact hours cut dramatically and are not happy

It’s ‘too early to say’ what the plan is for universities, says the government