Colleagues and students from economics recently got together for Q&A session on youth unemployment in the aftermath of coronavirus. The session was chaired by our PhD student Andrews Darko. You can watch the playback on YouTube.

Edward Cartwright kicked off the discussion by arguing that coronavirus is likely to have a long lasting negative impact on youth unemployment. And continue the trend since the 2009 financial crisis of increasing reliance on self-employment, zero-hour contracts and gig-economy work.

Dr Swati Virmani continued the discussion by picking up the influence of new technology. Developments such as AI are fundamentally changing the nature of work and coronavirus is hastening changes that would have happened anyway. Technological developments make it important that young people learn the right skills to thrive in a digital environment.

Dr Eghosa Igudia expanded the discussion to developing countries. He explained that coronavirus is having a particularly severe impact on the developing world because there is less access to the infrastructure needed to work from home. Moreover, there is less ability to support businesses and workers affected by the pandemic.

Continuing on a similar theme Dr Neslihan Kahyalar discussed the informal economy. Workers in the informal economy are particularly at risk from the coronavirus pandemic given a lack of financial support. The informal economy may, however, also be a lifeline to workers affected by the pandemic to find an alternative source of income.

Finally, student Lauren Allton discussed how her internship in the Government Economic Service was affected by the pandemic and home working. She also discussed how economics taught in various modules, such as macroeconomics, can help understand the economic implications of the pandemic.

The panel answered a number of questions on entrepreneurship, the future of the gig economy, and ways in which policy can help support youth unemployment.