Peter Hoskin

The next government will have to help this lost generation

The next government will have to help this lost generation
Text settings
Comments

It's noteworthy enough when David Blanchflower - a member of the Bank of England's MPC until May this year - says that the government "isn't doing enough" to stem the unemployment crisis, as he does in an article for today's Guardian.  But his more specific points about the "lost generation" of unemployed young people are also worth highlighting.

As Fraser blogged yesterday, this recession is taking a particular toll on those aged under 25.  Partially, this is down to school and university leavers being unable to find work.  But, as Blachflower points out, there's another effect at play - young people with jobs are the first in line to lose them, as firms make redundancies:

"A policy of last in, first out is also operating. One year ago, those aged between 16 and 24 accounted for about 14% of overall employment – since then, more than five in every 10 jobs shed has been lost by someone in that age bracket."

This just adds to the pool of young, qualified people scrapping for what jobs are available, and underlines why commentators like Blanchflower are now talking about a "lost generation".  Throw in the thousands of school and university leavers who will start hunting for jobs over the next few years - on top of those who are already unemployed - and it's likely that there'll be too few jobs, and too many applicants, for years to come.  So even when the recovery is in full swing, youth unemployment will be a persistent problem.

I've written before about how the main parties aren't doing enough to help or speak up for this generation of young people, who have been crippled by spiraling debts, an onerous tax burden, and impossible housing and labour markets.  As they will be, in large part, the generation which drives the economy out of recession, the next government should make it a priority to rectify this.