Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Youth jobless rate continues to climb

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The proportion of young people (aged 15 to 24) who are either out of work or not getting enough hours is an incredible 31.5%! This is the highest level recorded since data was first collected 40 years ago. The last time figures were close to this level was during the recession in the early 1990s.

The figures come from a new report released by the Brotherhood of St Laurence called “Generation Stalled: young underemployed and living precariously in Australia”. This NGO used data from the Department of Employment, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey.

They found that the rate of youth unemployment was 13.5% while underemployment had climbed to 18%. While some politicians have claimed that Australia avoided the global financial crisis entirely, this report shows that job prospects for young people have diminished considerably since 2008.

In February 2017, the total number of young people either looking for work or wanting more hours was 659,000. Of the jobs that do exist the majority are insecure. Young people are much more likely to be employed on a part time or casual basis.

These latest figures further confirm that capitalism offers young people no future. There is plenty of work that needs to be done; building new public housing to eliminate homelessness, an expansion of renewable energy to combat climate change, manufacturing new trains and buses to ensure every suburb is connected to public transport, to name but a few of the projects that need to be undertaken.

Capitalism however is focused on profit rather than people’s needs so if it is decided that not enough profit can be made jobs will not be created and people will be left on the scrap heap. Socialists say that if this system cannot afford to create well-paid and secure jobs then we cannot afford this system.

By Anthony Main