Job worries, poor mental health afflict pandemic-hit UK youth

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) – Young people in the UK are emerging from the coronavirus crisis blighted by poor mental health and worried about their financial future, reports published Monday warned.

The separate analyses, by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Resolution Foundation, underscore the huge challenges facing millions in their late teens and early 20s as the country returns to normality after more than a year of lockdowns to fight the pandemic.

Those restrictions hit the young harder than other age groups. With government support programs coming to an end, they are now in danger of permanent damage to their prospects unless policy makers make helping them back to work a top priority, the research groups said.

“Without effective support, there is a risk that young people today will bear the scars of the recession for years to come,” said Xiaowei Xu, senior research economist at the IFS.

The IFS study found that 19 to 24-year olds were particularly vulnerable to the winding down of furlough wage subsidies, which have saved the vast majority of jobs affected during the pandemic. Young people, many of whom were forced to move back into the family home, report being more pessimistic about their immediate financial future than other age groups.

The Resolution Foundation said that one in four people aged 18 to 24 are afraid that poor mental health will affect their ability to find a job in future.

Of those placed on furlough, reduced pay or made unemployed, almost 30 per cent say they are experiencing adverse mental effects, according to its survey, which uses new YouGov data.

“Where someone is struggling with their mental health, making the essential first step into the job market can prove impossible, especially in a job market as challenging as the one facing young people,” said Martina Kane, policy and engagement manager at the Health Foundation, which supported the survey.

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