The latest ONS data shows the employment rate at 75.5%, lower than for March to May 2018 (75.7%) but higher than for a year earlier (75.1%). The data available covers the period between June 2018 to August 2018.
The data shows that, between March to May 2018 and June to August 2018, the number of people in work was little changed, the number of unemployed people decreased but the number of people aged from 16 to 64 years not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) increased.
We take a look at the headlines and the youth unemployment figures in more detail:
- There were 32.39 million people in work, little changed compared with March to May 2018 but 289,000 more than for a year earlier.
- The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were in work) was 75.5%, lower than for March to May 2018 (75.7%) but higher than for a year earlier (75.1%).
- There were 1.36 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 47,000 fewer than for March to May 2018 and 79,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
- The unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a proportion of all employed and unemployed people) was 4.0%; it has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975.
- There were 8.75 million people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 103,000 more than for March to May 2018 but 65,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
- The economic inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were economically inactive) was 21.2%, higher than for March to May 2018 (21.0%) but lower than for year earlier (21.4%).
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 people aged from 16 to 24 years, between June to August 2017 and June to August 2018:
- the number of people in employment fell by 35,000 to 3.83 million
- the number of unemployed people fell by 60,000 to 464,000 (the lowest since comparable records for unemployment by age group began in 1992)
- the number of economically inactive people was little changed at 2.71 million (most of whom were full-time students)
For April to June 2018, the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds was 11.3%,, the lowest youth unemployment rate since comparable records for unemployment by age group began in March to May 1992. However, it was substantially higher than the unemployment rate for all people aged 16 years and over (4.0%). The unemployment rate for those aged from 16 to 24 years 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
What The Data Doesn’t Tell Us
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 ourselves 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 growing 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?
Impetus PEF have explored the subject in detail and most recently London Youth have highlighted the issues in their Hidden in Plain Sight report. Whilst we celebrate record levels we have to question why youth unemployment numbers have moved half a percentage point in a year, we have worked together with a group of organisations to pull together a guide for working with marginalised young people.