In the News

Young hit hardest by Covid-19 job losses

Ollie Gardner

23rd February 2021

Labour market data released by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) today shows that the under-25s accounted for more than half of those without jobs in the three months to December of last year.

The UK unemployment rate reached 5.1% of the labour force in Q4 2020 - its highest level in nearly five years.

This figure is still uncertain though, as many firms in the UK have kept their employees on furlough and it is possible that unemployment could rise once the scheme comes to an end.

In the same press release, it was announced that average weekly pay increased by 4.7% in the same period.

However, this figure needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as a large proportion of those who lost their jobs last year were those on lower incomes, such as hospitality sector workers, and so the average weekly pay figure is higher without these individuals included.

This is a good example of the need to analyse data, and their sources, with a critical eye. This approach will be rewarded when answering any data response questions in your exams and internal assessments.

The fact that both younger people and those on lower incomes were more likely to lose their jobs over the last year will have significant implications on UK income and wealth inequality.

This will be especially true for under-25s who are not able to rely on their parents to help with their costs of living.

Jonathan Athow, a Deputy National Statistician at the ONS, wrote this short thread on today's announcement which is well worth a look.

Ollie Gardner

Ollie is a new economics teacher at an academically selective school having previously worked in the healthcare technology industry.

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