Youth unemployment drops to below one million

The number of 16-24 year olds out of work falls to 957,000, although the rate is still high at 20.5%.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
Are things looking up for Britain's young people? In the uncertain labour market, 16-24 year olds have been bearing the brunt of squeezed budgets and a shortening of opportunities. But data from the Office for National Statistics suggests the trend is slowly reversing.

The number of 16-24 year olds out of work has now fallen to 957,000, down 62,000 from March to May. It still means one in five youngsters is out of work, but it’s a sharp drop from the 1.2 million youngsters who were unemployed a year ago.

In general, Britain’s labour market is also showing signs of looking healthier. The total number of people unemployed fell to 2.53 million between June and August 2012. That was a drop of 50,000 on the previous three months and means the unemployment rate has now slipped 0.2% to 7.9%.

And the employment rate is rising. The number of 16-64 year olds in work is now 29.59 million – the highest figure since records began in January 1971. It was up 212,000 on March to May and up 510,000 on a year earlier. Wages also nudged up, with average earnings rising by 1.7% in the three months to August from a year earlier – although this is still lagging behind the current 2.2% inflation figure.

But as always, the figures come with a note of caution. The number of people that have been unemployed for more than a year is still rising. Almost 900,000 people have been out of work for over a year, up 13,000 from March to May. And the number in part-time jobs is also increasing: the number rose from 125,000 from March to May to 8.13 million. We’re not out of the woods just yet.

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