While unemployment amongst 16-24 year olds has fallen (down nearly 200 000 compared with a year ago), it still remains much higher than that for the population as a whole. What’s more the figures for the last quarter of 2014 show a small increase.
Latest ONS figures for NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training) show a much lower annual decline as well as an increase on the last quarter. At 963 000, over 13% (almost 1 in 7) of all 16-24 year olds still classified as NEET, while over 15% of those 18-24 are in this category. The discrepancy between the number of NEETs and those ‘unemployed’ is the result of the relatively large number who are ‘economically inactive’ – over half a million. Obviously a number of these will have long term illnesses or disabilities, caring or parenting responsibilities and will not be able to work; but many will also have given up looking. The ONS statistics do not include further data on these categories.
However, the figures do show that 60 000 16/17 year olds remain in the NEET category, 4% of this age group and that this has barely changed since the increase in the educational and training participation rate to 17. This may indicate the difficulties in implementing this policy or in cajoling young people into education, if they don’t want to be there.