Youth unemployment has dropped to its lowest level since before the 2008 recession, it was revealed today.
Figures published this morning show in the three months to April 2015, 475,000 16 to 24-year-olds not in full time education were classed as unemployed.
That is a 1,000 fewer than the number unemployed before the recession in February 2008.
However, young people are still bearing the brunt of effects of the recession, with 16 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds unemployed, compared to 5.7 per cent across all the working age group.
The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, also showed wages grew by 2.7 per cent in real terms in the last year – the highest since 2007.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Although today’s improvements are welcome, there is still a long way to go for youth unemployment and underemployment.
“Real wage growth remains too reliant on low inflation, and even if prices remain exceptionally low we are facing a lost decade on pay growth.”
The Government welcomed today’s figures, which showed a record employment rate for women of 68.6 per cent, employment up by more than 400,000 in the past year and long-term unemployment at its lowest since June 2009.
Employment Minister Priti Patel said: “Today’s figures confirm that our long-term economic plan is already starting to deliver a better, more prosperous future for the whole of the country, with wages rising, more people finding jobs and more women in work than ever before.”
Labour’s Acting Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Stephen Timms MP said if you take into account 16 to 24-year-olds who are looking for work while in education the unemployment rate figure among young people was much higher than 475,000.
He said: “The fall in overall unemployment is welcome, but with more than 740,000 young people unemployed it’s clear the government needs to do far more to give young people the chance to earn a living.
“Ministers are failing to ensure young people get the best start in life. Last year the number of under 25-year-olds starting an apprenticeship fell. It’s time for ministers to give young people the world-class apprenticeships and training they need to succeed in life.”