Yesterday’s ABS labour force release for February 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 February: Total employment growth for those aged 15-24 years was just 0.7% in February, and has dived over the past year, badly under-performing the rest of the labour market (2.1% growth): Full-time jobs continued to retrench, falling by 2.6% in year to February. By contrast, part-time jobs growth improved to 3.5%: Youth labour force participation bounced to 68.6% but remains way below pre-GFC levels, suggesting substantial hidden youth unemployment still exists: Since the GFC hit 11-plus years ago, overall youth employment has risen by just 2.8% in trend terms, well below the 9.6% lift in the youth population over this time, and full-time jobs are down an incredible 18.5%. By contrast, the overall number of jobs for the rest of the labour force has risen by 24.5%, with full-time employment up 20.4%: Youth underemployment was 17.9% in February, whereas underutilisation was at 30.0%, with both at historically high levels: In a nutshell, the youth labour market remains way oversupplied and faded just as the coronavirus jobs bust approaches.
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