Anne Marie Waters
Tuesday October 27th 2020
Two articles have caught my eye this morning; how jobs are continuing to be lost due to local lockdowns, and the impact this will have on the next generation.
According to the BBC, there is a ‘long winter’ ahead for those seeking work, as job advertisements continue to fall. The primary reason is lack of high street footfall.
The Centre for Cities think-tank (CfC) has analysed 63 towns and cities across the UK and has found that “vacancies have failed to return to pre-pandemic levels across all 63”.
Scotland has been particularly badly affected, while London’s job advertisements are down 52%, with a nationwide reduction of 46% since this time last year. That’s a staggering figure, and means that employment is not going to recover at any time soon.
Industries that depend upon high street footfall are particularly suffering. This includes high street shops, but also leisure pursuits and entertainment. People working from home has significantly impacted this and there is little sign that vast numbers will ever return to the office.
Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at Indeed, said: “The timid recovery in job vacancies is a portent of the distress towns and cities could face if restrictions continue to spring up in parts of the country already reeling from imposed lockdowns and reduced footfall.
With the remote work trend showing no sign of abating, and entire regions being placed under stricter control, service jobs in large towns and cities could become scarcer still and pull the UK into a jobs spiral.
That could mean a very long winter ahead for the millions of people currently unemployed.”
This is indeed dreadful news, but when looking at the longer term prospects of the coming generations, the news gets even worse.
For Britain has always strived for future generations – it is central to our philosophy that Britain should remain free and prosperous for their sake, but coronavirus has brought us to a new place; a place where young people are unlikely to own their own homes, or in fact to own much at all.
They have been labelled ‘Generation Covid’ and their future could well be quite bleak. Panorama has reported that people aged 16-25 are more than twice as likely to have lost their jobs in this crisis than older generations, and 6 in 10 have seen their earnings fall.
The inevitable mental health consequences of increased hopelessness, particularly among young people from poorer backgrounds, is already making itself felt.
The Samaritans claim that suicidal thoughts among this age are higher than others, and this generation is spiralling in to depression.
An assistant principal at a Westminster sixth form college told Panorama: “We’ve seen a big increase in students with eating disorders this year. And increase in depression as well. So, we’ve had to, where possible, direct them to the nursing and the counselling, but within the first two weeks, those two things were completely saturated”.
Anxiety about their future is high, and the younger generation knows it will have to foot the bill for the decisions made by the Johnson government today; decisions that have caused an almost total collapse of the British economy. Moreover, there are no signs at all that this will end soon. In fact, with smaller lockdowns throughout the country, the opposite is the case.
We need urgent action on youth unemployment now, the future of the country depends on it. But admittedly, I’m thinking of a certain kind of future – one of prosperity, education, property ownership, autonomy, creativity, individuality and entrepreneurship. What ‘Generation Covid’ faces will be very very different.
Anne Marie Waters
Text ‘Join’ to 60777
(Economic Facts and Fallacies book review will return next week).