The latest ONS data shows the employment rate at 75.3%, higher than for a year earlier (74.6%). The data available covers the period between November 2017 to January 2018.
The data shows that between August to October 2017 and November 2017 to January 2018, the number of people in work and the number of unemployed people both increased, but the number of people aged from 16 to 64 not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) decreased.
We take a look at the headlines and the youth unemployment figures in more detail:
- There were 32.25 million people in work, 168,000 more than for August to October 2017 and 402,000 more than for a year earlier.
- There were 1.45 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 24,000 more than for August to October 2017 but 127,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
- The unemployment rate (the proportion of those in work plus those unemployed, that were unemployed) was 4.3%, down from 4.7% for a year earlier and the joint lowest since 1975.
- There were 8.72 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 158,000 fewer than for a year earlier and the lowest since November 2000 to January 2001.
- The inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive) was 21.2%, lower than for a year earlier (21.6%) and the joint lowest since comparable records began in 1971.
- Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in nominal terms (that is, not adjusted for price inflation) increased by 2.6% excluding bonuses, and by 2.8% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.
- Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (that is, adjusted for price inflation) fell by 0.2% excluding bonuses, but were unchanged including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT FIGURES
Within this data set young people are defined as those aged 16 – 24. Young people in full-time education are included in the employment estimates if they have a part-time job and are included in the unemployment estimates if they are seeking part time work.
For November 2017 to January 2018, for people aged from 16 to 24, there were:
- 3.84 million people in work (including 854,000 full-time students with part-time jobs)
- 538,000 unemployed people (including 180,000 full-time students looking for part-time work)
- 2.68 million economically inactive people, most of whom (2.04 million) were full-time students
For November 2017 to January 2018, the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds was 12.3%, little changed compared with a year earlier.
The unemployment rate for those aged from 16 to 24 has been consistently higher than that for older age groups. Since comparable records began in 1992:
- the lowest youth unemployment rate was 11.6% for March to May 2001
- the highest youth unemployment rate was 22.5% for late 2011
What the data doesn’t tell us
As youth employment statistics continue to stagnate we need to be more aware of what the data can not tell us and there is a real need to get to grips with how we can engage those young people still resented in unemployment figures and those who are hidden too.
ONS Data is compiled from the Labour Force Survey, whilst it is the most comprehensive of it’s kind it doesn’t tell the full story. For some time we and others in the sector have been raising concerns about the young people hidden from this data. The definitions set out in the survey make it difficult for us to know the real movement of young people into work or through work programmes.
There is concern that young people are not engaging with services like JobCentre Plus and therefore are not included in estimates and figures. If we can’t include these young people in the figures and they are unaware or unwilling to engage how can we make sure all young people get access to good quality support and opportunities?