YOUTH unemployment in the UK has shot up over the past year according to the latest research carried out by the Resolution Foundation think tank.
Since the start of the pandemic there has been a large increase in unemployment for young people aged 16-24.
Workers in the hospitality, retail and entertainments sectors have suffered some of the biggest job losses during the coronavirus pandemic and these are precisely the industries that employ large numbers of young people.
Since the pandemic erupted a year ago, 693,000 payroll jobs have disappeared – including 368,000 in hotels, restaurants and pubs while 123,000 shop jobs have vanished.
These figures do not include young workers in jobs covered by the Tory furlough scheme, which covered up the true scale of job losses by the government contributing 80% of the wages of workers laid off.
Throughout last year over 11 million workers were covered by the furlough scheme and in January 2021 4.7 million were still furloughed.
Almost two million jobs held by young people were furloughed at some point. When the furlough scheme ends in September, the full scale of job losses for both young and older workers will shoot up.
According to the Resolution Foundation research, young black workers have been particularly hit by unemployment with the jobless rate for young black people increasing by over a third to 35%.
Closely following is the jobless rate of 24% for young people of Asian descent and the rate of 13% for young white people. Both these figures represent an increase of 3% points.
The foundation however stressed that it was youth in general that had borne the brunt of job losses over the past year.
It reported that at the height of the pandemic last year the unemployment rate among 18 to 24 year olds rose from 11.5% to 13.6% – the largest increase in unemployment for this age group since 1992.
The foundation also made the point that ‘The rise in youth unemployment is not just about those losing their jobs, but also about young people not finding work in the first place.’
It went on to stress that the massive increase in youth unemployment affected all youth, not just those employed or looking for work in the retail and entertainment sectors.
It said: ‘Those who left education just before or during the crisis – the so-called class of 2020 – have faced particular difficulties, with unemployment rising fastest among those who recently left education.’ The foundation added: ‘Having a degree has not protected recent graduates from this effect.’
Indeed what is clear, is that there is no protection for young people from all ethnic backgrounds and educational achievements from mass unemployment, as bankrupt British capitalism crashes over the cliff of recession and collapse.
Already this week, the ex-boss of the Bank of England has called on the Tories to put an end to borrowing vast sums to keep ‘zombie’ companies from collapse.
The Tories will be dead set on doing precisely that when they end their bounce back loans and paying furlough wages. Then, entire industries and companies will close down overnight throwing over 4 million workers and youth into the gutter of unemployment.
Workers will not stand being driven into a life of mass unemployment and youth, as the most revolutionary section of the working class, will be at the forefront of the fight against a capitalist system that can offer no future except poverty.
Young people have taken the lead in the struggle against the gig economy employers and their brutal exploitation of mainly young workers.
Youth will take the lead in the struggle to build a new revolutionary leadership in the working class and its unions, a leadership prepared to organise the strength of the unions in a general strike to kick out the Tories, replace them with a workers government that will build a socialist society that alone can guarantee a life for every worker and young person.
Join the WRP and its youth movement the Young Socialists today to organise the British socialist revolution – there is not a moment to lose.