New figures show both unemployment rose 264% in last year as TUC says it is not the time to be young in the UK


There has been a huge increase in long-term youth unemployment since the year 2000, according to a new TUC analysis of official figures published today.

The TUC findings – published ahead of the latest unemployment figures due to be released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) tomorrow – show that in 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.

The number of young people who have been unemployed 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.

In comparison, on average across all working age groups, long-term unemployment has risen by 50 per cent since 2000, indicating just how hard young people have been hit by the recession and reduced education opportunities, says the TUC.

The number of young people who have been unable to find work for between six months and a year has risen by 152 per cent since 2000, up from 46,610 to 117,680, and the number of 18 to 24-year-olds without work for up to six months has grown by more than a third (37 per cent) from 210,195 to 288,760.

The new TUC analysis also reveals that over the same time period the average wages of young people have fallen in real terms while they have increased for everyone else.

Since 2000, inflation has risen by 38 per cent and average wages have kept pace with this, 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. The median hourly wage for workers in this age group in 2011 was £9.52 an hour.

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.

“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.”


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