Barely making national newspaper columns, the most recent labour market statistics from the ONS continue to provide a grim scenario for anyone seeking reliable employment in the early years of the 21st century.
The slight fall in both Labour Force Survey and Claimant Count figures for unemployment merely masks the continued decline of those in full-time employment and the increased importance of part-time working. (Now 6.75 million people) While 1.15 million of these officially admit to not being able to find full- time work, the real figure is undoubtedly much higher.
The increase in youth unemployment rates since the onset of the recession has been double that for the population generally. For those 18-24 year olds ‘not in full-time education’ just under 15% are unemployed. If this figure is added to those young people ‘economically inactive’ but not in full-time learning, then the total approaches 1 in 5 of the age group.
Though almost 1in 10 of last summer’s graduates are still looking for work, as the Financial Times (07/11/10) correctly observed; the situation for those with lower level qualifications remains much worse, as they compete with those more ‘qualified’ higher up the jobs queue. With the demand for work far exceeding its supply, this is the real reason why young people have continued to flock to an already overstretched higher education system and UCAS estimating 200 000 or 1 in 3 of last year’s applicants were unable to secure a place in 2010.