At first reading, the 12,000 fall in the number of 18-24 year olds unemployed between Jan-March 2012 would seem consistent with the general fall in unemployment of 45,000. At the same time however, there has only been a 3,000 increase in the number of 18-24 year olds working.
This discrepancy reveals significant changes in what young people are doing. During the last quarter for example, there has been a 46,000 increase in the number of higher education students. The number of students 18 years or older who are working is also up 30,000 on the previous quarter; though the total number of students with jobs is still only about 1 in 3, suggesting that the increased number of adults in the part-time labour market (1.4 million working part-time because they can’t find full-time employment) curtails student opportunities for employment whilst studying.
The rise in the number of students, also explains the 24,000 fall in unemployment amongst those not in full-time education (the total number in this category falling by 56,000). Meanwhile, the number of 16-24 years not in full-time education but ‘economically inactive’ has increased by 0.2% to 17%, suggesting that prospects for the youth labour market continue to decline.
Tripled fees in October will likely choke off this rise in student numbers however with UK UCAS applications down by nearly 9% (8.7) and English ones by nearly 10% (9.9).