Young black and Asian workers are hardest hit by rise in unemployment

Young black and Asian workers have been hardest hit by rise in unemployment caused by coronavirus pandemic, says study

  • 18 to 24-year-olds have borne brunt of the job losses during Covid-19 pandemic
  • They disproportionately worked in hard-hit sectors such as hospitality  
  • The unemployment rate among 18 to 24-year-olds rose from 11.5% to 13.6%

Young black and Asian workers have been the hardest hit by the rise in unemployment during the pandemic, a study has found.

The young have borne the brunt of the job losses because they disproportionately worked in sectors such as hospitality and leisure, which have been worst affected by the Covid crisis, The Resolution Foundation (RF) found.

The unemployment rate among 18 to 24-year-olds rose from 11.5 per cent to 13.6 per cent between April to June and July to September 2020.

It marks an 18 per cent increase, the largest quarter-on-quarter rise among this age group since 1992, the RF said. 

The analysis also found that the crisis had widened existing unemployment gaps between different ethnic groups – particularly among education-leavers.

Young black and Asian workers have been the hardest hit by the rise in unemployment during the pandemic, a study has found (file image)

It said that before the pandemic, the unemployment rate among young people with a black background was 25 per cent, compared with 21 per cent for those from an Asian background, and 10 per cent for those from a white background.

However during the crisis that rose by more than a third to 35 per cent for young black people, as against 24 per cent for those with an Asian background and 13 per cent for those who are white.

People aged 16 to 24 also accounted for 57 per cent of the fall in employment between the three months to January 2020 and the three months to January 2021.

The RF – which focuses on those on low and middle incomes – said those leaving education during the pandemic had faced particular difficulties.

Unemployment among non-graduate leavers rose from 14 per cent to 18 per cent between 2019 and 2020 – a 28 per cent increase.

Among graduates, it was up from 10 per cent to 14 per cent – a rise of 40 per cent. 

Kathleen Henehan, a senior research and policy analyst at the RF, said the Government should prioritise the employment prospects for young people as the economy recovers.

‘The furlough scheme has done a fantastic job of minimising job losses amidst unprecedented shutdowns of our economy,’ she said.

‘But young people have still experienced a sharp rise in unemployment during the Covid-19 crisis – with recent education-leavers and young black people being hardest hit.

‘Young people have sacrificed their livelihoods in order to save the lives of others from Covid-19, and putting their careers back on track must be a priority for Government in the months and years ahead.’

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