The House of Commons Library has recently published a report on Youth Unemployment commenting on the impact of Covid-19 on the employment market and the current position today.

In the months following the start of the pandemic there was a large fall in employment levels for young people aged 16-24, and a large rise in the number of economic inactive young people. This was followed by a smaller rise in unemployment.

Unemployment levels are now below pre-pandemic levels, but the number of young people in employment remains below the previous level, while the number who are economically inactive (21.2%) is also above the level that it was 2 years ago.

Comparing the latest quarter, October-December 2021, with the pre-pandemic quarter of January-March 2020 shows that:

  • The number of young people in employment has fallen by 103,000, a 3% fall. The fall for men has been larger, with employment levels falling by 4% for men and by 1% for women.
  • The number of unemployed young people was below pre-pandemic levels by 67,000, a 13% fall. In July-September 2020 it had increased by 14% from pre-pandemic levels, but since then levels of unemployment for young people have steadily been falling.
  • The unemployment rate is 11.2% compared to a pre-pandemic rate of 12.3%. This increased to 14.8% in July-September 2020. This is down from 11.7% in the previous quarter and down from 14.7% a year before.
  • 93,000 people aged 16-24 had been unemployed for over 12 months in October-December 2021, which was 20.1% of unemployed 16-24 year olds. This is up from 17.6% in the previous quarter. However, 22% of all people who had been unemployed for over 12 months were 16-24 year olds.
  • 82,000 more young people have become economically inactive, an increase of 3%. At the end of the furlough scheme (30 September 2021) 98,900 jobs held by those aged 24 or under were on furlough, which was 3% of eligible jobs.

The number of people aged 18-24 claiming unemployment related benefits more than doubled from March to May 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Since then, the youth claimant count has fallen, but the number of claimants for this age group in January 2022 was still 64,700 higher than in March 2020, an increase of 28%.

To read the full report click here.