Youth unemployment has seen the largest annual fall in 30 years of records, according to the latest figures published today by Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Having fallen by 206,000 over the past year, youth unemployment is now at the lowest level in nearly six years, down 4.5 percentage points compared to a year ago.

Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser at the CIPD, said:

“It’s interesting that the employment rate for young people continues to ride high compared with recent years.  This suggests that more employers are responding to a tight jobs market by turning to a wider pool of young people to offset the threat of future labour shortages and pay pressures. The other good news from the statistics is that productivity has finally returned to its pre-recession peak with increasing GDP output, combined with a slight fall in overall hours worked, suggesting employers are starting to make better use of their investment in people.”

“As our Labour Market Outlook report showed earlier this week, the proportion of employers that plan to hire apprentices and school-leavers in response to recruitment difficulties has increased sharply over the past year or so. Students leaving university or school this summer, including those who may not have gained the grades they would have liked, can therefore feel relatively more positive about their prospects.”

As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, the unemployment rate has also fallen again, down to 6.4 percent, the lowest since late 2008.

Unemployment fell by 437,000 over the past year – and 132,000 in only the past three months – which is the biggest annual fall in 25 years.


The number of people in work also continues to rise – with 820,000 more people in a job compared with 12 months ago – meaning on average over 15,000 more people are in work each week. The vast majority of the increase in employment was full-time.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:

“In the past, many people in our society were written off and trapped in unemployment and welfare dependency. But through our welfare reforms, we are helping people to break that cycle and get back into work.

“This is transformative, not only for these individuals and their families, but for society as a whole. That is why we have set full employment as one of our key targets – bringing security and hope to families who have lost their jobs and others who never had jobs, we put people at the heart of the plan. The best way to help even more people into work is to go on delivering a plan that’s creating growth and jobs.”

The figures published today also include employment by nationality. They show that over the last year almost three quarters of the rise in the number of people in work were UK nationals.