THE number of long-term unemployed young people has trebled since the global financial crisis and has grown fastest over the past year, new analysis from a national welfare charity has found.
Data compiled by the Brotherhood of St Laurence shows that one of the key indicators — length of time spent without work — is heading for the “worst-case scenario”. The unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 24 is more than double the national average at 12.5 per cent — and the proportion of those who had spent a year or more out of work now accounts for almost one-fifth of all the unemployed youth.
“I fear the worst-case scenario is already unfolding,” the Brotherhood’s executive director Tony Nicholson told The Australian. “These are large numbers of long-term unemployed people at risk of never getting a foothold in work, of never being able to pursue their aspirations or build a life for themselves.”
The Brotherhood’s used ABS data to analyse the long-term unemployment trends among teenagers and young adults.
Geelong-born and raised Kathrine Reynolds, 22, has been out of work for a year and only sporadically employed since she finished Year 12 in 2010.
“I have a future that I am trying to live for and it’s just knock-back, knock-back, knock-back,” she said.
“Because I’ve lost jobs before, I got into depression and I told myself it wouldn’t happen this time … but I found myself spiralling out of control. It’s a real struggle.”
The well-spoken young woman, whose father was recently made redundant after working for decades in a Geelong factory, tried first to become an apprentice chef and then an apprentice baker.
“Now I’m being told I’m too old for some jobs and not experienced enough for others,” she said.
“I’m lucky in one way because I’m living at home but then, I’d really like to be out in the world living by myself or with others but I just can’t do that at the moment.”
The long-term unemployment number in the 15- to 24-year-old age bracket jumped 34 per cent in the last year across the country, 100 per cent in Queensland and 75 per cent from a low base in Western Australia.
In Tasmania, almost one-third of unemployed young people have been for a year or more.
Funding for national “youth transitions” programs designed to help young people find work and complete education goals ends this year, and there has been no indication from the federal government that new programs will take their place.