News - 13 August 2014

Record fall in youth unemployment

Youth unemployment has seen the largest annual fall since records began 30 years ago – alongside the steepest annual fall in unemployment in a quarter of a century, figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show.

As part of the Government’s long-term economic plan, the unemployment rate has also fallen again, down to 6.4%, the lowest since late 2008.

Youth unemployment has fallen by 206,000 over the past year, which is the largest drop since records began in 1984, bringing it to the lowest level for nearly 6 years. The youth unemployment rate is down 4.5 percentage points compared to a year ago.

Unemployment fell by 437,000 over the past year – and 132,000 in only the past 3 months – which is the biggest annual fall in 25 years.

And the East Midlands saw the largest annual fall in the unemployment rate of any UK region in the last 12 months, down 2.5% points and now below the UK average.

George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, said: “Today’s employment statistics are once again encouraging and show the positive effects that the strengthening economy is having on the wider labour market.

“Headline rates of unemployment and claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance are closing in on pre-recession levels, which highlights just how strong and flexible the local labour market is at present.

“Anecdotal evidence from businesses across a range of sectors shows confidence is rising, which is being reflected by increases in staffing levels at many local companies.

“The economy is progressing well, but in order to strengthen it further, policymakers should focus more of their efforts on those who are now furthest from the labour market to allow the wider recovery to enable those prepared for work to re-engage with the workforce.” 

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said: “In the past, many people in our society were written off and trapped in unemployment and welfare dependency. But through our welfare reforms, we are helping people to break that cycle and get back into work.  

“The Government’s long-term economic plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society is working – the East Midlands saw the largest annual fall in the unemployment rate of any UK region in the last 12 months, down 2.5% points and now below the UK average.

“This is transformative, not only for these individuals and their families, but for society as a whole. That is why we have set full employment as one of our key targets – bringing security and hope to families who have lost their jobs and others who never had jobs, we put people at the heart of the plan. The best way to help even more people into work is to go on delivering a plan that’s creating growth and jobs.”

Schemes such as the Government’s Work Programme have also contributed to the biggest fall in long-term unemployment since 1998 – down by 171,000 on the year.

The number of people in work also continues to rise – with 820,000 more people in a job compared with 12 months ago – meaning on average over 15,000 more people are in work each week. The vast majority of the increase in employment was full-time.

The figures published today also include employment by nationality. They show that over the last year almost three quarters of the rise in the number of people in work were UK nationals.

Employment now stands at 30.6 million – over 2 million more people are in private sector employment since the start of 2010. The employment rate is now 73%, up 1.5 percentage points on the year and is higher than the United States and the EU average, and is in the top five countries in the EU.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell again, a reduction of 420,600 over the past year – the fastest annual fall since 1973. Long-term JSA claimants fell by 119,200 compared to last year, the largest annual fall since 1998.

There are 487,300 fewer people claiming JSA than in 2010. The number of young people on Jobseeker’s Allowance has been falling now for 32 months, down 132,600 on the year.

Job vacancies rose again, up 119,000 over the past year bringing the number of vacancies in the UK economy to 656,000.

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