19 June 2012 10:37
A new study from the TUC has shown that the number of 18-24-year-olds out of work for more than a year has increased by 874% over the last ten years.
The long-term unemployed figure among young people has gone from 6,260 to 60,955 since the year 2000, rising 264% in the past year alone. Over the same period youth joblessness as a whole has increased 78%, compared with an increase of 42% across all age groups. Meanwhile, long-term unemployment across the entire age spectrum increased by 50% since the turn of the century. The news came ahead of the release tomorrow of official unemployment figures.
The bleak news for young people continued with the revelation that while unemployment has risen over the decade, wages have fallen in real terms. The report also stated that those aged between 18 and 21 have seen their wages rise 35% over the period, approximately 3% lower than inflation and 6% lower than the average wage increase across the working population.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Our young people are already facing a toxic combination of increasing unemployment, high tuition fees and inadequate government support for those people out of work. Now we discover they are at a hugely increased risk of being long-term unemployed and are losing out in the wage stakes as well.
"Now is certainly not the time to be young in the UK, with figures showing more than one million people under 24 are unable to find work and the pay of those in work lagging well behind inflation.
"With a strong recovery still failing to take hold, the bleak prospects facing young workers and young jobseekers is going to be with us for some considerable time to come."
However, Government officials have disputed the TUC's interpretations of the data. Employment minister Chris Grayling said: "The TUC's use of statistics is just plain wrong.
"Under the previous government the scale of long-term youth unemployment was hidden. People were transferred off Jobseekers Allowance temporarily through training allowances and short-term jobs. We've stopped doing that.
"When this is taken into account, long-term youth unemployment is lower than May 2010. Since then we have put in measures so young people can find real sustainable jobs."
Martina Milburn, chief executive of youth charity the Prince's Trust, said: "Young people with few qualifications and skills are being pushed furthest from the jobs market, and it is these young people who need the most support from employers, charities and the Government.
"If we fail to give these vulnerable young people a chance, we will lose thousands of them to an ever-growing dole queue."
The report's author Dr Neil Lee stated: "The Government should be addressing youth unemployment as one of its most urgent priorities, yet the response so far has been piecemeal.
"Youth unemployment is a complex issue. To tackle it, we must ensure that young people have the education and skills they need for the labour market, the incentives to get into work and the necessary knowledge of available opportunities.
"It is a particular concern that at present no agency tracks or has responsibility for young people making the onwards transition from school.
"We want to see the Government take this issue in hand. Much of the effort needs to be around long-term unemployed young people. Around 264,000 have now been out of work for over 12 months. Co-ordinated action is needed to ensure these young people are given the skills, opportunities and information to enter and progress in the labour market."