The largest claimant count in nearly 100 years – a perfect storm

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.”

Opportunity Guarantee

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.

For more information, please email or call 01536 513388.

Looking for Youth Friendly Employers?

Find out more about some of the organisations offering high quality training and work opportunities to young people. Your next dream role could be just a click away…

Latest Articles

See more

Development Apprenticeships With Clarion Housing Group – Apply by 9th May 2021

Clarion Housing Group is looking for 3 talented and self-motivated school leavers to complete our five-year development programme as part […]

Construction traineeship with Higgins Partnership in Hatfield – Youth Friendly Employer Ixion

Traineeships help unlock your great potential and prepare you for the world of work. We’re pleased to be offering this […]

Traineeships in pre-school or play services in Camden, London with Youth Friendly Employer Ixion

Are you passionate about working with children and young people and eager to kickstart your career in Play Work or […]

Compass Group- Gateway To Employment Programme: Birmingham

Placement details for Vacancy details for COMPASS Group – gateway to employment programme Are you 16-24 years old, living in […]