The latest Labour Market Data for the UK shows the not unexpected rise in claimants and begins to build the picture of the impact Covid-19 is having on the economy and employment.
ONS stress within their publication that some of the claimant increase can be contributed to the broadening out of eligibility, an action take by the government as part of their response to Covid-19.
What the numbers tell us
The claimant count for young people (18-24) has doubled between the months of March and May.
- March 6.1%
- April 9.7%
- May 12.8%
There were already half a million young people claiming benefit prior to this release and we know that not all young people who are looking for employment claim benefits, this makes predictions of youth unemployment having already reached 1 million very plausible.
Completing the picture?
This is not the complete picture for youth employment, there will be a further wave of young people looking for employment in July as young people in full-time education leave this summer, a cohort of young people that have already faced huge disruption in their final year of education.
The ONS data shows that the number of people in work and on payroll has significantly reduced along with the number of vacancies available. The Institute for Employment Studies estimates that there could be up to 8.5 unemployed people for every vacancy available.
Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO of Youth Employment UK says “In our Youth Voice Census young people had already told us that they did not believe that there were enough jobs available to them, raising anxiety levels and concerns for their future. This latest vacancy prediction will further flame those concerns and may impact young peoples confidence and resilience.
In a competitive labour market young people tend to fare worse than other workers who have more experience. We know that young people who have additional barriers such as education attainment, those from poor socio-economic backgrounds, with disabilities, additional needs or those from BAME communities experience even greater challenges trying to find employment.”
It is clearly evidenced that spending long periods of unemployment has a scarring effect on young people, it affects their well being and future earning potential and progress. The cost to the economy and young people themselves sits far higher than the cost of the welfare support required.
This is why Youth Employment UK and colleagues from the Youth Employment Group called on the Prime Minister to create an Opportunity Guarantee for all young people in the Country. We are asking that the government commits to ensuring that every young person can access a quality education, employment or training opportunity.
Youth Employment Uk’s asks
In addition to this call we would specifically ask that the UK make further commitments to young people including:
- Listen to young people, history tells us that policies and recommendations are designed for them but without their input, this can not continue
- Encourage employers to look at their youth friendly practice and incentivise recruitment for young people
- Utilise the organisations and services that already exist, organisations that young people trust and are connected to, it is not time for a new quango
- Build for long-term system change, youth unemployment has been a significant challenge for the UK and we must look at all the systems and barriers young people experience and make big investment to ensure that real improvements can be made. See our Manifesto for Youth Employment.