Youth labour market goes from bad to worse

Yesterday’s ABS labour force release for January revealed a mixed outcome for Australia’s youth labour market – i.e. those aged 15 to 24 years old – with annual jobs growth falling, and unemployment and underemployment near record highs.

The trend headline unemployment rate rose further to 11.91% in January:

Total employment growth for those aged 15-24 years was just 0.8% in January, and has dived over the past year, badly under-performing the rest of the labour market (2.3% growth):

Full-time jobs continued to retrench, falling by 2.1% in year to January. By contrast, part-time jobs growth improved to 3.1%:

Youth labour force participation bounced to 68.4% but remains way below pre-GFC levels, suggesting substantial hidden youth unemployment exists:

Since the GFC hit 11-plus years ago, overall youth employment has risen by just 2.7% in trend terms, well below the 9.6% lift in the youth population over this time, and full-time jobs are down an incredible 18.1%. By contrast, the overall number of jobs for the rest of the labour force has risen by 24.4%, with full-time employment up 20.2%:

Youth underemployment was 17.7% in January, whereas underutilisation was at 29.6%, with both at historically high levels:

In a nutshell, the youth labour market remains way oversupplied.

Leith van Onselen
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