Youth unemployment: A million reasons to act?

Youth unemployment: A million reasons to act?

Paul Bivand, Laura Gardiner, Danielle Whitehurst, Tony Wilson
November 2011
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There is growing consensus that without further action we risk a ‘lost generation’ of young people – shut out of the labour market and increasingly disconnected from work and learning.

Youth unemployment is now above one million, with long-term youth unemployment above 250,000 for the first time since the early 1990s.More than one in five young people who are in the labour market are unemployed – giving an unemployment rate of 22%. However not all young people are in the labour market. One third are not working and not looking for work, usually because they are students and so are not included in this calculation. Taking account of these people, the percentage of all young people who are unemployed is 14% – or about one in seven. This, in some ways, gives a more accurate reflection of the likelihood of being unemployed.

Key Findings:

  • Inclusion is calling for a subsidy focused on creating 75,000 new jobs for long-term unemployed young people on the Work Programme, at a cost of £150 million.
  • Youth unemployment now is 25 per cent higher than it was at the same point after the 1990s recession.
  • Long-term youth unemployment is rising more quickly than at any point since comparable records began – 260,000 young people have now been unemployed for more than 12 months.
  • In the longer term, Inclusion is calling for a fundamental overhaul of the employment and skills system for 16–24 year olds.
  • Accountability for young people should be in one place rather than five or more government agencies.
  • There must be a focus on maximising skills attainment and subsequent employment.
  • A new ‘Universal Youth Credit’ should be introduced, linking engagement with employment, education and training.