Surprise! Australia’s COVID-19 Recession Is Hitting Young People The Hardest
Young Australians are being screwed over by the COVID-19-induced recession, with 329,000 people under 25 now unemployed.
The number makes up almost half of Australia’s job losses since March, which sits around 835,000 as of the official May figures, released Wednesday.
Unfortunately, that’s just official numbers: the ABS is quick to remind that estimates don’t include those who have fallen out of the labour market, aka those not currently looking for work. They estimate the actual number of unemployed Australians is at 1.55 million, aka 11.3 per cent of our population, aka almost double the official number.
Currently, 1.7 million Australians are on JobSeeker, which in September is slated to be reduced from its current rate of $550 a week back to the measly $40 a day, despite pleas from welfare groups.
Additionally, 1.2 million Australians are currently working fewer hours than usual. Women have been affected far more than men, too, with treasurer Josh Frydenberg stating that 52 per cent (or 118,000) of May’s job losses were women’s.
While the recession is far-reaching, young Australians have been hit the hardest. In May alone, under 25s have lost 100,000 jobs, which is almost half of the month’s numbers. And given the Federal government’s current spending, it’s likely they will have to continue to feel the burden of this recession over the coming years via taxes and potential austerity measures.
Speaking to press shortly after the figures dropped, PM Scott Morrison said we are in ‘dark times’, albeit foreseeable ones.
“As … heartbreaking as all of these stories are that are represented in these numbers, the sad truth is these numbers are not surprising in these circumstances,” he said (via The Guardian). “We are very aware of the significant blow that Australians are being hit with through the course of this pandemic.”
He also specifically addressed youth unemployment rates, calling them a “sickening loss” and a “great waste of human capacity” with “long-term effects for the nation” (via News.com.au). Morrison hopes that food courts and retail spaces opening will offer some relief.
“Young people, they have been most affected in these numbers. But my hope is that, equally as the economy opens up, they will hopefully also be the first to benefit from the economy opening up. As retail doors open again, as food courts are open again, as shopping centres are fuller again, we hope to see more of those young people back into work but the task will be great.”