Tag Archives: youth

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

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