Latest UK Labour Market And Youth Employment Statistics November 2019

UK labour market statistics

The latest ONS Labour Market Overview shows the UK employment rate was estimated at 76.0%; 0.5 percentage points higher than a year earlier but 0.1 percentage points lower than last quarter. The data available covers the period between July to September 2019.

Headlines:

  • The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.8%; 0.2 percentage points lower than a year earlier and 0.1 percentage points lower than last quarter
  • The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 20.8%; 0.3 percentage points lower than a year earlier but 0.1 percentage points higher than last quarter

Youth Unemployment: 16 – 24 year olds

  • The UK Youth Unemployment rate is 11.9%, up by 0.3% from the previous quarter and up by 0.7% from last year’s figure
  • The UK Youth Employment rate is 53.8%, down by 1.3% from the previous quarter and down by 0.7% from last year’s figure

The youth unemployment rate has continued to gradually increase since the data covering Feb – Apr 2019 was released. We explore the age breakdown in more detail below:

Youth unemployment broken down by age group:

16-17

  • The percentage of 16-17 year-olds not in full time education has risen to 14.9%, up from 11.4% last quarter and 11.5% last year
  • As a figure, this is an increase of 48,000 16-17 year-olds not in full-time education in only a year, totalling 208,000, while the population of 16-17 year-olds overall has only risen by only 5000 over the same time period
  • For all 16 to 17 year-olds, the latest unemployment rate is now 21%, up from 19.4% last quarter and down slightly from 21.3% last year
  • For 16-17 year-olds not in full-time education, the latest unemployment rate is now 23.4% when it was only 16.2% last year

18-24

  • The Employment rate for 18-24 year olds is 61.1%, down by 1.6% since the last quarter and down by 1.1% since last year
  • The Unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds is 10.8%, not changing since the last quarter and up by 0.7% since last year
  • Fewer 18-24 year olds are combining work with full-time education: for 18-24 year-olds in full-time education, the employment rate has dropped to 32.5% by 1.6% since the last quarter and by 0.7% since last year.
  • For 18-24 year-olds not in full-time education, although the unemployment rate has not changed from 10.5% since the last quarter, it has risen by 1.2% since last year
  • For 18-24 year-olds not in full-time education, the employment rate is at 75.8%, the second lowest figure in the last 3 years, after dropping by 0.9% since the last quarter and 1.1% since last year

Our comments

These latest figures continue the negative trend observed in the Feb-Mar 2019 labour market figures, with youth unemployment still gradually rising. This appears to be in contrast to the latest overall unemployment figures, which appeared to slightly improve. However, we caution against being too optimistic about the overall unemployment reduction, as it appears to be due to rising economic inactivity as people of working age leave the labour market.

We continue to closely watch the unemployment rates for young people, recognising that they are already almost three times more likely to be unemployed than the general population. With plenty of uncertainty in the UK in the months ahead we are working with our network of young people to hear their challenges and ensure that they are being supported to find quality employment.

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