Unemployment figures could signal a new youth jobs crisis

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date: 11 October 2010

embargo: 00.01hrs Tuesday 12 October 2010

The TUC is concerned that the latest unemployment figures released by the Office of National Statistics tomorrow (Wednesday) could reveal a new crisis in youth unemployment.

Between April and June this year short-term unemployment (up to six months) for 18-to-24-year-olds increased by 43,000, meaning thousands of young people are being forced to join the dole queue every day. In contrast, short-term unemployment has fallen among those aged 25-49 over the same period. Another rise in short-term youth unemployment would be very bad news for recent graduates and school leavers, says the TUC.

The TUC believes levels of long-term youth unemployment are also looking bleak. There are currently (June 2010) 192,000 young people aged 18-24 who have been out of work for over 12 months. This is the highest level of youth long-term unemployment since John Major's Conservative Government in January 1995, when 197,000 young people were in this position, says the TUC.

The total number of young people aged 18-24 who are unemployed is now 728,000. This level has been rising for two months in a row, after previously reaching a peak of 749,000 in September 2009. The TUC would be extremely concerned if total youth unemployment levels rose for another month.

Young people are also chasing a declining number of job vacancies. Nationally over the period June-August 2010 there were 467,000 vacancies, a fall of 14,000 on May-July 2010. There are now five unemployed people for each job vacancy.

The TUC is particularly concerned that a large number of these jobs are unlikely to be available to young people - for example many of the 37,000 vacancies in professional and scientific activities, 39,000 education vacancies and 29,000 financial and insurance vacancies may not be jobs that school leavers or graduates can compete for as they may have fewer skills and less experience than other applicants.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Tomorrow's figures will be a key indication of whether young people are facing a new jobs crisis.

'While recent months have seen some welcome falls in overall unemployment levels, thousands of young workers across the UK are joining the dole queues every month and that is a real cause for concern.

'At the moment, it appears there are simply not enough jobs for young people to do. It is therefore particularly alarming that the Government has cut funding for the Future Jobs Fund, which would have provided an additional 90,000 positions for unemployed young people across the country

'For every person struggling to get work, this recession remains a personal tragedy. And with the Government pressing ahead with deep spending cuts which will choke off growth, unemployment is set to rise again.'


- All figures in the press release are from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) unemployment figures. For more information please visit http://www.ilo.org/global/What_we_do/Statistics/lang--en/index.htm

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet


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