‘Bleak’ youth unemployment figures show fragmented government approach
Tue, 19 Jun 2012
New figures released today by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) show an 874% rise in long-term youth unemployment since 2000 – the same day research body The Work Foundation criticises government response to the problem as “piecemeal”.
According to the TUC data, taken from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of people aged 18-24 who were unemployed for over one year has risen from 6,260 in 2000, to 60,955 in 2012 – a near nine-fold increase.
In all categories of unemployment – total joblessness, those out of work for less than six months, for between six and 12 months, and those out of work for over a year – there were more under 24s out of work than in the population as a whole.
The Work Foundation is calling for the creation of a dedicated national unit headed by a minister in charge of overseeing and co-ordinating the government’s response to the issue.
Report author Dr Neil Lee says: “The government should be addressing youth unemployment as one of its most urgent priorities, yet the response so far has been piecemeal.”
He adds that the issue is “complex”, with government departments for Education, Work and Pensions and Business, Innovation & Skills all partly responsible.
The report is the first from The Work Foundation’s ‘Missing Million’ programme, a two-year solutions-focused project aimed at increasing the employment prospects of young people in the UK.
The TUC findings also show that those aged under 40 have seen pay increases of just 28% on average over the last decade, significantly below older age groups.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber comments that “now is certainly not the time to be young in the UK”, calling the combination of unemployment and high tuition fees “toxic”.