The ONS have released the latest Labour Market Overview covering the months May – July, there is additional data that covers August.
The UK unemployment rate has risen to its highest level for almost two years, sitting at 4.1% for all age groups. We are starting to see the impact of Covid 19 on the workforce and we anticipate more job loses as the Job Retention scheme winds down.
This latest data set confirms our fears that young people will be the hardest hit (economically) over other age groups.
- There are currently 32.98 million people over the age of 16 in employment, this is 202,000 more than a year earlier but 12,000 fewer than the previous quarter.
- There are currently 1.4 million unemployed people, 104,000 more than a year earlier and 62,000 more than the previous quarter.
- The unemployment rate has risen to 4.1%, 0.3 percentage points higher than a year earlier and 0.2 percentage percentage points higher than the previous quarter. This is the highest since 2018.
- The estimated economic inactivity rate for all people was 20.2%, a joint record low; this is down by 0.6 percentage points on the year and down by 0.3 percentage points on the quarter
- The claimant count has risen to 2.7 million, rising by 73,000 between July and August. Since the beginning of lockdown there has been 1.5 million new claimants, an increase of 120.8%.
- There are now approximately 434,000 vacancies, 48,000 fewer than in the previous quarter and 383,000 fewer than a year earlier. However, this is 30% higher than the record low in April to June 2020 and is being driven by small businesses (those with 49 or fewer employees).
While redundancies were still low, both the quarterly and annual changes are the largest seen since 2009. In addition to this data we see that the number of employees in the UK on payrolls was down around 695,000 compared with March. Despite this the employment rate remains stable.
What does this mean for youth employment?
- There are currently 3.62 million 16-24 year olds in employment, a decrease of 156,000 from the last quarter and 153,000 fewer than a year earlier.
- There are 561,000 unemployed 16-24 year olds, increasing by 35,000 since the last quarter and 73,000 more than the previous year.
- Economic inactivity has increased with 2.67 million 16-24 year olds not in employment or looking for employment. This has risen by 71,000 over the last quarter and by 44,000 since last year.
- The claimant count for 18-24 year olds stands at 526,400. This has risen by 600 on last month’s revised figure (changed from 531,300 to 525,800), and 291,300 since March.
Over the quarter, there has been a large decrease in the number of young people in employment, while unemployment for young people has increased.
Today’s unemployment figures confirm our fears that young people would continue to be worse off than any other group in the labour market.
Young people told us they felt unsure of their futures before Covid19 took hold, that sense of anxiety and uncertainty is growing in our network.
We are working with Government on the #PlanForJobs, driving calls for more high quality education, employment and training opportunities for young people. We cannot let this growing youth unemployment crisis go unanswered.