It can’t be said enough. Amid a steady rise in the overall unemployment rate, Australia’s youth continue to bear the brunt – and teenagers are faring worst of all.

More than 280,000 Australian youth aged 15 to 24 are unemployed. The worst hit were the 15 to 19 year olds, with the unemployment rate for this group hitting 20 per cent in some areas – a level not seen since the mid 1990s. Almost 160,000 Australians aged 15 to 19 were unemployed in April, out of an overall pool of 770,000 unemployed.

This means one in five unemployed Australians today is a teenager.

The national youth unemployment rate (for 15 to 24 year olds) stands at 13.6 per cent, more than twice the overall unemployment rate.

The chance of finding a job has been declining since the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC). The probability of finding a job has fallen sharply for 15 to 19 year olds: by early 2015, less than 15 per cent of the unemployed in this group moved from unemployment into employment from one month to the next. This level is similar to that observed for this group in the early 1990s and is well below the overall job-finding probability.

Overall unemployment, across the age groups, continues the upward trend that began in the aftermath of the GFC. The crisis was not a sledgehammer in Australia, but its impact has been long-lasting and insidious, especially on the fringes of the labour force.The latest trend data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which smooths out the volatility of the more often cited seasonally adjusted data, shows an overall national unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent in April 2015.

The impact of the GFC on employment has lasted far longer than the impact of the previous recession in the early 1990s. More than six years on, unemployment is still rising. This is in stark contrast to the earlier recession, when national employment started to recover within two years.

As a nation, we really need to develop the potential of emerging generations, but far too many of our young people are now at risk of joining the ranks of ‘Generation Jobless’.

At the Brotherhood of St Laurence, we know through our research that education and training are vital keys to finding sustainable jobs. Many of our programs for young people and their families are provided free, or at minimal cost. This work would not be possible without generous support.

Your generosity encourages us to keep going and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in Australia. To support our important work, please donate.

*You can read more about youth unemployment here, and find more of our latest research here.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey