Young women hit hardest by low employment outcomes in the time of Covid-19

Young women hit hardest by low employment outcomes in the time of Covid-19

Women in the 15-24 year age bracket are becoming the hardest hit victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those in the lowest 30% of the weekly earnings group account for 60% of the decrease in hours worked from February to May. This has disproportionately affected young women in particular.

A lack of consumer spending has driven this outcome. Young women are over-represented in the accommodation and food services, arts and recreation services and retail trade. This loss of employment has been driven by Government mandated businesses closing, taking out 430,000 workers in those areas, which is accounting for two-thirds of all jobs lost.

Historically, in past recessions, the jobs lost have been overwhelmingly male, but COVID-19 has turned this outcome on its head, as the hardest hit industries have traditionally employed many more women than men.

Total monthly hours worked during COVID-19 fell for men by 7.7% between March and May but frighteningly for women they fell by 12%…a much greater decline.

Not all these jobs which women, and young women in particular, have held in past years, will return when this pandemic is finally resolved. Businesses will have failed in these past months. Some will reopen, but certainly not all businesses will recover. These young women have become victims in a different type of recession which was never foreseen a few months ago.

When JobSeeker finishes in September these young women will need support from the government until business can pull itself out of this devastating pandemic.

This is an entirely new play book and one the government will need to address.

Annie Young

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