Despite the relatively benign nature of the labour market recently, youth unemployment now stands at a record high. The number of 16-24 year olds seeking work has reached 965,000 after increasing by 66,000 in the three months to December. And the youth unemployment rate increased by 1.5 percentage points to 20.5 percent in the three months to December.
Both figures are the highest since comparable records began in 1992. Research has found that youth unemployment has long lasting impacts on the employment chances of those affected. The Work Programme, the Government’s new approach to welfare to work which is due to be launched in the Summer, will need to pay particular attention to helping young people back into the labour market to prevent the scarring impacts of long term youth unemployment.