The number of people aged 16 to 24 in full time education has more than doubled over the last 30 years according to a new report on young people in the labour market. At the end of 2013, 3.03 million people aged 16 to 24, or 42% of the total, were in full time education, up from 1.42 million (17%) in 1984.
Figure 1: The percentage of people aged 16 to 24 in full-time education, 1984 to 2013
At the end of 2013, 69% of young people not in full time education were employed. This equates to 2.87 million of the total of 4.17 million young people not in full time education. Of the remaining, 637,000 (15%) were unemployed, which means they were actively seeking and available to work, and 664,000 (16%) were inactive. Of those who were inactive, the most common reason given for not seeking or being available to work was looking after the home or family (38%).
The proportion of young people undertaking work alongside full time study has been falling since the year 2000, when it peaked at 41%. In late 2013, 27% of those in full-time education, 813,000, were in employment. Most of this fall has happened since 2005. At the end of 2013 the percentage of students in work was similar to the mid 1980s.
For young people at the end of 2013 the unemployment rate, measured as a proportion of the labour force rather than the total population, was 20%. This was similar to the position in 1984 following the 1980s recession, and was higher than the peak of 18% in 1993 following the 1990s recession. The youth unemployment rate peaked at 22% towards the end of 2011, following the UK economic downturn in 2008.
Compared with other countries across the European Union (EU), the UK unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2013 was lower, at 21%, than the EU average (23.5%). The highest youth unemployment rate was 58% in Greece and the lowest at 8% was in Germany. Germany is the only country across the EU to have seen a fall in the youth unemployment rate since the first quarter of 2008, when the major worldwide crash happened.
Figure 2: The unemployment rates of countries in the European Union for the third quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2008
According to the 2011 Census, Wokingham had the highest employment rate in England and Wales for young people not in full time education, at 83.2%. Hartlepool and Wolverhampton had the highest unemployment rates across England and Wales for young people not in full time education, both at 21.8%. The highest inactivity rate for this group was in Barking and Dagenham, at 20.3%.
Focusing on all young people, of those who state they are inactive so not looking or available to work, Barking and Dagenham, at 5.2% of their youth population have the highest percentage who state they are looking after their family or home. The average for England and Wales was 2.7%. Neath Port Talbot has the highest percentage of young people who state they are inactive because they are long term sick or disabled at 2.7% of all young people in the area. The average for England and Wales was 1.1%.