Double trouble

Exploring the labour market and mental health impact of Covid-19 on young people

This report marks the beginning of a three-year research programme at the Resolution Foundation investigating the links between the labour market and mental health outcomes of young people. In this launch paper, we examine how young people have fared on both accounts through the pandemic period. We look back, showing that a number of structural changes over the past 20 years made young people especially vulnerable to the current crisis; and look forward, identifying the risks young people could face in the wake of the monumental shock that has been Covid-19.

We find that young people have been hard hit compared to other age groups during the pandemic when it comes to both economic security and mental health. But in both respects, the last year has exaggerated longer-term trends. Pre-crisis, young people were more likely to be in an insecure job, and substantially more likely to have a mental health problem, than ten years ago. Without policy action, the labour market and mental health impacts of the pandemic could persist, driving down young people’s living standards in the process.