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Workers aged under 30 and on lower incomes ‘likely to be hit hardest’ by economic shock

Workers under the age of 30 and those on lower incomes are likely to be hit hardest by the economic shock from the coronavirus pandemic, research has suggested.

Economists from the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Zurich collected data from “a large geographically representative sample” in the UK and America to come to their conclusion.

A total of 3,974 people in the UK were surveyed on 25 March, two days into the government-imposed lockdown, while the US data came from 4,003 people on 24 March.

Younger workers in both countries were found to be more likely to have either recently lost their job or seen a drop in hours and earnings compared to workers in middle age, the analysis indicated.

Of those employed last month, 10 per cent of workers under the age of 30 were now unemployed “definitely” or “probably” due to Covid-19, compared to just 6 per cent of workers aged 40 to 55, according to research.

Meanwhile, 69 per cent of workers under 30 reported working fewer hours than usual in the previous week and 58 per cent reported earning less, compared to 49 per cent and 36 per cent for workers aged 40 to 55 respectively.

Workers on lower incomes – meaning those earning below 20,000 pounds or dollars a year – across all age groups in both countries were more likely to have lost their job in the preceding four weeks than workers earning more than £40,000 in the UK or $50,000 in the US.

“In the long term, the economic shock caused by the pandemic is highly likely to increase inequality between young and old, between higher and lower earners, and between those on secure and insecure contracts,” Dr Christopher Rauh of Cambridge University’s Faculty of Economics, who led the research, said.

Additional reporting by PA

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