Youth unemployment has increased in 97 per cent of local authority areas in the UK in the last 12 months, according to a TUC analysis published ahead of the latest official unemployment statistics out next week (Wednesday 16 November).
With the prospect of youth unemployment hitting the one million mark when the Office for National Statistics released the latest figures next week, the TUC reveals that the number of young people aged between 18 and 24 unable to find work in the UK has increased in 196 of 202 local authorities since September 2010.
The TUC believes this illustrates that the government’s current approach to youth joblessness and the economy is not working.
The only six UK local authorities where youth unemployment has stalled in the last year are Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames, Reading and – the only authority not in the south east – Warwickshire. Everywhere else has witnessed an increase, by an average of 1.2 percentage points.
The local authority areas with the biggest rises in the number of young people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance between September 2010 and September 2011 include Hartlepool (3.5 percentage point increase), Darlington (3.2), Waltham Forest (3 per cent), Sandwell (2.9), and Doncaster, Torbay and Blackpool (all 2.7 per cent).
The TUC analysis also reveals the extent to which youth unemployment worsened during the recession. From September 2007 to September 2011, the number of young people unable to find work at least doubled in a third of local authorities (32 per cent).
The worse hit authorities over the last three years are Clackmannanshire (7.5 percentage point increase since September 2007), Doncaster (7.4), Hartlepool (7.1), Rotherham (6.9), Rochdale and Redcar and Cleveland (both 6.8).
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘We’re facing the biggest youth unemployment crisis in a generation with close to one million of our young people unable to find work.
‘With the economic outlook the gloomiest it’s been since the end of the recession the bleak prospects facing young jobseekers look set to be with us for some considerable time to come, unless the government changes course now and brings in immediate measures to support jobs and growth.
‘Young people need particular help to make sure they don’t spend long periods out of employment or education. We need a proper replacement for the Future Jobs Fund, new measures to support the creation of more apprenticeships and a government commitment that no unemployed young person will spend more than six months out of employment or high quality training.
‘The Chancellor’s plan A has already sent unemployment to a 17-year high. Our young people, and our whole country, urgently need a plan B to get people back into work and the economy back on its feet.’