Heading for 1.18m youth unemployed

Young Socialists marching in Norwich last Saturday against unemployment and cheap labour
Young Socialists marching in Norwich last Saturday against unemployment and cheap labour

Youth unemployment is set to more than treble over the next two years, research group, the Centre for Cities predicts in a report published yesterday.

Based on the claimant count, the group says that the number of long-term unemployed young people will rise from 130,000 in May 2009 to 350,000 by December 2011.

However, International Labour Organisation (ILO) figures for long term unemployed, instead of just the number of people claiming benefits, suggest that over one million young people will be unemployed.

The ILO predicts that there will be a total of 2.94 million people out of work by the end of 2011.

At the moment, 40 per cent of unemployed people are between 16 and 24, and if that proportion is still the case then 1.18 million young people will be out of work.

The Centre for Cities study found that Hull is the British city with the highest rate of youth unemployment, with 9.85 per cent of under-25s claiming jobless benefits in May.

Sunderland had the second worst rate of 9.45 per cent with Barnsley third at 9.13 per cent.

But it’s not only Northern ex-industrial cities which are affected, Swindon and Milton Keynes have some of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

The average rate of young people claiming unemployment benefit is 5.66 per cent.

The Centre for Cities looked at the proportion of unemployed young people who have been out of work for more than a year to come up with the prediction of 350,000 long-term unemployed 16 to 24 year olds claiming benefits by December 2011.

It said that the government’s Future Jobs Fund, which aims to create 150,000 jobs for young people by 2011, would not be enough.

This will help less than half the expected 350,000 young people due to be long-term unemployed by December 2011.

There is no help for youth not able to claim benefits.

Even so, the Centre for Cities finds that this Fund is a ‘sticking plaster’ initiative.

‘It will not be big enough to help every long-term unemployed young person,’ said Dermot Finch, director of the Centre for Cities.

The Future Jobs Fund is £1bn, which local authorities, companies and other organisations can bid for to fund the creation of jobs for young people who have been out of work for a year or more.

At least 50,000 of the jobs created are supposed to be in unemployment hotspots.

The deadline for the first round of bids for the fund is 30 June.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Ministers should beware talk of “green-shoots”.

‘And even if this is not a false dawn, action will be needed for the foreseeable future to help the unemployed, create jobs and rebalance the economy away from finance towards other sectors, particularly to build a low carbon economy.

‘Top of the list must be action now to help the long-term unemployed and the thousands of school and college leavers about to hit the labour market.’