Tag Archives: young people

Long term youth unemployment up by 874% since 2000

19 Jun
by Amy Jackson

More woes for UK youth unemployment were announced by the TUC earlier today, as a study finds a huge increase in long-term youth unemployment since the year 2000.

Over the last 12 years, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds who are out of work has risen by 78 per cent, while unemployment across all age groups has increased by 42 per cent. According to the latest unemployment figures, due to be updated tomorrow, the number of unemployed people in the UK now stands at 2.65 million.

Those suffering the most at the hands of the unemployment crisis are the UK’s young people. The number of 18-24 year-olds without work for more than a year since 2000 has increased by an enormous 874 per cent (from 6,260 to 60,955), going up by 264 per cent in the last year alone. Compared with the average across all working age groups where long-term unemployment has risen by 50 per cent since 2000, it is clear just how hard young people have been hit by the recession and reduced education opportunities.

Young people are not only losing out on jobs. Since 2000, the average wages of young people have fallen in real terms while they have increased for everyone else.

Today, some have blamed the existence of the minimum wage for the ever-increasing number of unemployed young people, as it makes labour ‘too expensive’ and so fewer people will be employed. Yet the report states that average wages have increased for all other age groups. Businesses have managed to cope with this rise, why shouldn’t they be able to cope with a hardly generous minimum wage (£6.08 per hour) for young people?

Could this reluctance be to do with the fact that decision-makers in companies tend not to be in the 18-24 age range? This is not to mention the fact that there are plenty of over-25s on minimum wage too.

In fact, larger companies could easily go further, raising pay to at least a Living Wage – £7.20 an hour nationwide/£8.30 in London. As Norma Cohen from the Financial Times said,  ‘ [a] report, by the left-leaning Resolution Foundation and the Institute for Public Policy Research, found that raising those on minimum wages to a “living” wage – defined as £8.30 per hour in London and £7.20 per hour elsewhere – would only raise the average pay bill of big companies by 1 per cent or less.’

Since 2000, inflation has risen by 38 per cent and average wages have kept pace with this and more, going up by 41 per cent. However, the TUC finds that while on average those aged 30 and above have benefited from above inflation pay rises, workers aged 29 and under have once again lost out.

Those aged between 18 and 21 have only received 35 per cent rises, with those aged 22 to 29 faring even worse with pay increases of just 28 per cent – some 10 per cent behind inflation.

Over the same period, older groups of workers have seen better pay rises – 30 to 39-year-olds have enjoyed 47 per cent increases in their pay, 40 to 49-year-olds have had 41 per cent rises, and those aged between 50 and 59 have done best of all with average pay increases of 59 per cent – some 21 per cent above inflation.

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.’

See the figures for yourself: www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/312/MASTERDATA.xls

Left Out would love to hear from young people who have experienced or are experiencing difficulties in finding work. Get in touch with us here or leave a comment below.

Ideas from the ‘Lost Generation’ – Unite solutions to UK youth unemployment

18 Jun

By Elaine Dougall

Youth unemployment in the UK is spiralling out of control with more than 1 million 16-24 year olds (over 22.5%) across the UK out of work, the highest levels since comparable records began in 1992.  But the national average merely hides geographical and demographic variations which paint a far bleaker picture…

Geographically, economic black-spots in Scotland like North Ayrshire have been burdened by youth unemployment rates averaging at more than 30% over the last two years.  Demographically, unemployment among young black men has doubled in three years, rising from 28.8% in 2008 to 55.9% in the last three months of 2011.

Yet in the UK, such are the new depths being reached across Europe, ‘experts’ have argued our crisis is fortunate compared to others. In Greece in and Spain youth unemployment hovers around or above 50%.  That’s a catastrophe, not a crisis.

We can’t go on like this.

How can we seriously debate and shape youth unemployment problems if the very people impacted by it are not at the centre of the solutions? Now, more than ever, we need robust proposals for strategies contributing to the wider debate for the alternative to a neo-liberal economic and social agenda that’s been struggling on life-support since 2008.

Mainstream party politics won’t deliver the alternative, only people can.  It’s the same in the context of youth unemployment as it is in any issue whether its pensions or pay.  And young people should be given every platform possible to offer up their views on the alternatives and have the chance to implement change.

Who else understands the problem better?

So what are the ideas from the ‘lost generation’? How did we end up here and what are the barriers confronting young people? How can young members deliver change for themselves, both local and national, and help to sustain their future and the future of the union?

At Unite’s policy conference in Brighton next week, Unite Scotland is hosting a fringe event, ‘Ideas from the ‘Lost Generation’, to discuss this problem. This is an opportunity for all our conference youth delegates, and delegates with an interest in the youth unemployment crisis, to come listen to our speakers and join the debate.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Elaine Dougall, Women’s and Equalities Officer, Unite Scotland

Monday 25th June 2012, Brighton Centre, Top Floor Restaurant, 12.30 – 2PM

Unemployment: Not such a rosy picture

18 Apr

Unemployment looking grim

by Amy Jackson


It is of course a positive that headlines today tell us that unemployment figures have fallen by 35,000. After a terrible month, the government is busy trumpeting this small success, and Cameron even criticised Ed Miliband in today’s PMQs for failing to congratulate the Coalition on this achievement. Yet Miliband may have been wise to withhold his compliments. A closer analysis of the unemployment figures reveal a gloomy outlook, with problems facing women, the long-term unemployed and the over 50s. Furthermore, the rise in part-time working and temporary contracts masks the unemployment problems facing the UK.

Unemployment across the country has indeed fallen, but the number of people without a job still remains at 2.65 million. Women make up 1.136 million of this figure, the highest female unemployment since 1987, and the numbers are rising. According to the Institute of Public Policy Research, the number of women out of work has risen by 100,000 over the last year, with 29% of unemployed women being unemployed for more than a year. Not good news for gender equality, nor the level of household incomes across the country.

Long-term unemployment has also continued to rise, and now stands at 883,000.  The IPPR projects that in the coming months, 107,000 more people will have been out of work for more than a year, bringing the number of long-term unemployed close to 1 million. The IPPR described this as the ‘hidden crisis of the slowest ever economic recovery’ facing the UK, and despite this quarter’s more positive developments, predicts that unemployment will continue to rise over the next year. Tony Dolphin, Chief Economist of the IPPR said, ‘The longer someone is unemployed, the less likely they are to ever return to work. Being out of work for more than a year can have a scarring effect, making it harder to get a job as well as having a negative impact on one’s health and well-being.’

While youth unemployment has marginally improved, falling by 9,000 this quarter, the figure still remains at a jaw-droppingly high 1,033,440 16-24 year olds out of work. Over a quarter of those have now been out of work for over a year, joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed. There is no sign things are going to get much better. The Youth Contract has now been set in motion, but is yet to have an impact on youth unemployment. Dolphin does not seem to have much confidence: ‘On current progress, just two-thirds of people out of work for a year will not get work in the following two years. Government policy is not keeping pace with joblessness.’

Another hard-hit age group is the over 50s, with almost half a million older workers out of work. Nearly 200,000 over-50’s have been out of work for a year or more – a 4.3% rise over the quarter. Ros Altmann, director-general at Saga, told the Telegraph: “People coming up to retirement are increasingly finding their private pensions are not as good as they had hoped – with women particularly having very little private pension. This means they have to stay at work if they want a reasonable income.”

There has also been an unwanted rise in part-time work, which rose by 80,000 while the level of full-time employment fell by 27,000. 1.4 million part-time workers are now working part-time because they are unable to find full-time jobs.

With unemployment predicted to continue to rise, today’s ‘good news’ will be painfully short-lived.

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