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For young Australians the long road of prosperity is pitted with potholes. And long-term youth unemployment presents as one of the key challenges. Nearly one in five unemployed 15 to 24 year olds today have been out of work for 52 weeks or more.

This stark figure represents an estimated 46,990 people aged 15 to 24 – and their predicament is clearly linked to a changing labour market.

Key points:

  • Ten years ago, in October 2009, just under one in ten young job hunters were unemployed for 52 weeks or more, equating to almost 21,000 Australians.
  • While long-term youth unemployment is considerably higher than a decade ago, the overall national youth unemployment rate1 – at 12 per cent (trend data) – is also languishing at similar levels to the rate seen in 2009, in the uncertain wake of the global financial crisis.
  • Despite Australia being about to notch up 30 years of overall economic growth, an estimated 265,000 young people today are in the unemployment queue. As a point of striking contrast, the current unemployment rate for young people is three times the 3.9% unemployment rate for Australians aged 25 and over.
  • While youth unemployment remains stubbornly high, another pitfall presents itself for the emerging generation: the nation’s vocational education and training (VET) system is not on track to meet future demand in many fast-growing occupations. This is at the same time as the number of unskilled and entry-level jobs has fallen.

In this report for the Youth Unemployment Monitor, looking to the future, we examine projections of employment growth in industries and associated occupations and identify the top four industries with the greatest projected jobs growth. We then look at vocational education and training enrolment data to see how the enrolments fit with the highest growth occupations.

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