What recession? Economic crisis passes teens by: study

SYDNEY Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:15am EDT

Jeremy Conway, 13, sells apples while dressed in period costume outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, September 30, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Jeremy Conway, 13, sells apples while dressed in period costume outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, September 30, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - The world may be slowly emerging out of recession, but the global financial crisis appears to have gone unnoticed to a whole swathe of people: teenagers.

In spite of rising unemployment and economic uncertainty, Australian business information analyst IBISWorld said most teenagers -- who make up just over 5 percent of Australia's recession-hit 21 million population -- see the economic crisis as something their parents, not them, have to worry about.

It found most teens live a "highly subsidized life" with their parents while earning their own money through part-time or full-time jobs, which they use to buy the latest gadgets, clothes and for entertainment.

"Unless their parents have been made redundant, lost a business or had to sell the family pad, it's little wonder the younger generation's impression of the global financial crisis is distinctly indifferent," said IBISWorld General Manager Robert Bryant, adding that nearly 80 percent of teens work part-time.

Although youths in other Westernised countries, such as the United States and Britain, are more affected by the economic crisis because their countries have been worse hit than Australia and job opportunities diminished, they still spend their money is much the same way, according to analyst Raghu Rajakumar.

Bryant said today's teens have little qualms about spending all their income, think little about saving and appear to grow up faster, coveting designer labels, the latest electronics and overseas holidays much sooner than previous generations.

The popularity of the Internet and social networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook make gadgets such as cameras, the latest mobile phones and laptops must-have items for many teenagers, regardless of gender, the research report said.

High-end fashion is also something teens are snapping up, helping the whole sector grow by nearly two percent this financial year despite the overall economic doldrums.

Entertainment options such as music downloads, the cinema, videogames and travel to exotic locations that their parents probably only thought of visiting when they were middle-aged and more financial stable are also popular with teens, the research added.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

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