Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), UK: August 2022

Estimates of young people (aged 16 to 24 years) who are not in education, employment or training, by age and sex.

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Contact:
Email Bob Watson

Release date:
25 August 2022

Next release:
24 November 2022

1. Main points

  • There was a small increase in the number of young people who were aged 16 to 24 years and not in education, employment or training (NEET) in April to June 2022, with the total currently estimated to be 711,000, up from 707,000 in January to March 2022.

  • The percentage of all young people who were NEET in April to June 2022 was estimated at 10.4%, down 0.6 percentage points compared with pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels (October to December 2019).

  • The number of young men who were NEET and economically inactive in April to June 2022 was 217,000 (a slight decrease from January to March 2022) and the number of women was 255,000, (a slight increase on the January to March 2022).

  • There were an estimated 221,000 young people in the UK aged 18 to 24 years who were NEET and unemployed, a record low for the data series.

  • There were an estimated 447,000 economically inactive young people aged 18 to 24 years who were NEET, up 24,000 on the quarter and up 118,000 on the year.

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2. Coronavirus and measuring the labour market

The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates are based on interviews that took place from April to June 2022. Many of the government lockdown restrictions had eased prior to this period, including the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and the suspension of face-to-face interviewing, we had to make operational changes to the LFS, which was moved to a telephone approach. This introduced an increased non-response bias to the survey, which was partially mitigated by the introduction of housing tenure-based weights into the survey in October 2020, as detailed in our Coronavirus and its impact on the Labour Force Survey.

However, further improvement work was required to deal with the increase in non-response from those with a non-UK country of birth or nationality. As a result, a new weighting methodology was introduced in July 2021. Further information is available in our Impact of reweighting on Labour Force Survey key indicators, UK: 2020 release.

The Labour Force Survey estimates published from 14 June 2022 have been reweighted for periods from January to March 2020, using updated Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) data. This uses the same method of applying growth rates from PAYE RTI data as that was implemented in July 2021. The non-response bias adjustment, previously implemented for England, Wales and Scotland data, has now also been applied to Northern Ireland data. Our Impact of reweighting on Labour Force Survey key indicators: 2022 article explains the impact and gives a more detailed reweighting timeline.

Subnational not in education, employment or training (NEET) estimates are not published by ONS but can be accessed by following the related links in section 8 of this bulletin.

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3. Total young people who were not in education, employment or training (NEET)

An estimated 10.4% of all people aged 16 to 24 years in the UK were not in education, employment or training in April to June 2022. This is 0.1% up on the quarter, and up 1.0 percentage points compared with April to June 2021, but 0.6% down on pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) (October to December 2019) pandemic levels. An estimated 11.0% of men and 9.8% of women were NEET. Of the 711,000 people who were NEET, 385,000 were men and 327,000 were women.

The total number of people aged 18 to 24 years who were NEET was 668,000, up 16,000 on the previous quarter.

The percentage of those aged 18 to 24 years who were NEET was 12.5%, which was up 0.3 percentage points on the quarter.

Unemployed young people who were not in education, employment or training

There were an estimated 239,000 unemployed young people who were NEET in April to June 2022, a record low for the data series, down 8,000 from January to March 2022 and down 41,000 compared with April to June 2021. There were estimated to be 167,000 unemployed NEETS who were men and 71,000 who were women, a record low for the data series.

Economically inactive young people who were not in education, employment or training

In April to June 2022, there were an estimated 473,000 economically inactive young people who were NEET. This was up 12,000 on the quarter from January to March 2022 and up 108,000 compared with April to June 2021. The number of young men who were NEET and economically inactive was 217,000 and the number of women was 255,000, which was an increase on the previous quarter (January to March 2022) of 13,000. The number of 16 to 17-year-olds who are economically inactive fell by 12,000 on the quarter to 26,000, the largest quarterly fall on record.

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4. Young people who were not in education, employment or training data

Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)
Dataset | Released 25 August 2022
Quarterly estimates for young people (aged 16 to 24 years) who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the UK.

Sampling variability for estimates of young people not in education, employment or training
Dataset | Released 25 August 2022
Labour Force Survey sampling quarterly variability estimates for young people (aged 16 to 24 years) who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the UK.

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5. Glossary

Young people

For this release, young people are defined as those aged 16 to 24 years. Estimates are also produced for the age groups 16 to 17 years and 18 to 24 years by sex, and separately for the age groups 18 to 20 years, 21 to 22 years and 23 to 24 years.

Education and training

People are considered to be in education or training if they:

  • are enrolled on an education course and are still attending or waiting for term to start or restart
  • are doing an apprenticeship
  • are on a government-supported employment or training programme
  • are working or studying towards a qualification
  • have had job-related training or education in the last four weeks

Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)

Anybody who is not in any of the forms of education or training listed above and not in employment is considered to be NEET. As a result, a person identified as NEET will always be either unemployed or economically inactive.

Economic inactivity

People not in the labour force (also known as economically inactive) are not in employment, but do not meet the internationally accepted definition of unemployment because they have not been seeking work within the last four weeks and/or they are unable to start work in the next two weeks.

Employment

Employment measures the number of people in paid work, or those who had a job that they were temporarily away from (for example, because they were on holiday or off sick). This differs from the number of jobs because some people have more than one job.

Unemployment

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks.

A more detailed glossary is available in our guide to Labour Market Statistics.

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6. Measuring the data

This statistical bulletin contains estimates for young people who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the UK. The bulletin is published quarterly in February or March, May, August and November. All estimates discussed in this statistical bulletin are for the UK and are seasonally adjusted.

Statistics in this bulletin are used to help monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Explore the UK data on our SDGs reporting platform.

Our NEET methodological article providing background information explains how missing information for identifying someone as NEET is appropriated based on individual characteristics.

Labour Force Survey (LFS) performance and quality monitoring reports provide data on response rates and other quality-related issues for the LFS.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for NEET statistics for the UK, published within this release. Estimates of the number of young people who are NEET within the countries of the UK and for subnational areas are the responsibility of the Department for Education for England, and the devolved administrations for each of the other countries. There is further information on the availability of subnational estimates of young people who are NEET in Section 8.

Coronavirus

View more information on how labour market data sources are affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

View a comparison of our labour market data sources and the main differences.

Relationship to other labour market statistics for young people

Our monthly Labour market statistical bulletin includes the dataset A06: Educational status and labour market status for people aged from 16 to 24. The NEET statistics and the dataset A06 statistics are both derived from the Labour Force Survey and use the same labour market statuses; however, the educational statuses are derived differently.

For dataset A06, the educational status is based on participation in full-time education only. For NEET statistics, the educational status is based on any form of education or training. Therefore, the dataset A06 category "not in full-time education" includes some people who are in part-time education and/or some form of training and who, consequently, should not be regarded as NEET.

Labour Force Survey reweighting

The Labour Force Survey estimates published from 14 June 2022 have been reweighted for periods from January to March 2020, using updated Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) data. This uses the same method of applying growth rates from PAYE RTI data as that were implemented in July 2021. Our Impact of reweighting on Labour Force Survey key indicators: 2022 article gives more information on the reweighting exercise.

Making our published spreadsheets accessible

Following the Government Statistical Service (GSS) guidance on releasing statistics in spreadsheets we will be amending our published tables over the coming months to improve usability, accessibility and machine readability of our published statistics. To help users change to the new formats we will be publishing sample versions of a selection of our tables, and where practical, initially publish the tables in both the new and current formats. If you have any questions or comments, please email labour.market@ons.gov.uk.

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7. Strengths and limitations

The figures in this bulletin come from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Results from sample surveys are always estimates and not precise figures. As the number of people available in the sample gets smaller, the variability of the estimates that we can make from that sample size gets larger. In general, changes in the numbers and rates reported in this bulletin between three-month periods are small and are not usually greater than can be explained by sampling variability.

Our Sampling variability dataset shows sampling variabilities for estimates of young people who are NEET derived from the LFS.

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9. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), published 25 August 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), UK: August 2022

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Bob Watson
labour.supply@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 1633 455070