More woes for UK youth unemployment were announced by the TUC earlier today, as a study finds a huge increase in long-term youth unemployment since the year 2000.
Over the last 12 years, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds who are out of work has risen by 78 per cent, while unemployment across all age groups has increased by 42 per cent. According to the latest unemployment figures, due to be updated tomorrow, the number of unemployed people in the UK now stands at 2.65 million.
Those suffering the most at the hands of the unemployment crisis are the UK’s young people. The number of 18-24 year-olds without work for more than a year since 2000 has increased by an enormous 874 per cent (from 6,260 to 60,955), going up by 264 per cent in the last year alone. Compared with the average across all working age groups where long-term unemployment has risen by 50 per cent since 2000, it is clear just how hard young people have been hit by the recession and reduced education opportunities.
Young people are not only losing out on jobs. Since 2000, the average wages of young people have fallen in real terms while they have increased for everyone else.
Today, some have blamed the existence of the minimum wage for the ever-increasing number of unemployed young people, as it makes labour ‘too expensive’ and so fewer people will be employed. Yet the report states that average wages have increased for all other age groups. Businesses have managed to cope with this rise, why shouldn’t they be able to cope with a hardly generous minimum wage (£6.08 per hour) for young people?
In fact, larger companies could easily go further, raising pay to at least a Living Wage – £7.20 an hour nationwide/£8.30 in London. As Norma Cohen from the Financial Times said, ’ [a] report, by the left-leaning Resolution Foundation and the Institute for Public Policy Research, found that raising those on minimum wages to a “living” wage – defined as £8.30 per hour in London and £7.20 per hour elsewhere – would only raise the average pay bill of big companies by 1 per cent or less.’
Since 2000, inflation has risen by 38 per cent and average wages have kept pace with this and more, going up by 41 per cent. However, the TUC finds that while on average those aged 30 and above have benefited from above inflation pay rises, workers aged 29 and under have once again lost out.
Those aged between 18 and 21 have only received 35 per cent rises, with those aged 22 to 29 faring even worse with pay increases of just 28 per cent – some 10 per cent behind inflation.
Over the same period, older groups of workers have seen better pay rises – 30 to 39-year-olds have enjoyed 47 per cent increases in their pay, 40 to 49-year-olds have had 41 per cent rises, and those aged between 50 and 59 have done best of all with average pay increases of 59 per cent – some 21 per cent above inflation.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Our young people are already facing a toxic combination of increasing unemployment, high tuition fees and inadequate government support for those people out of work. Now we discover they are at a hugely increased risk of being long-term unemployed and are losing out in the wage stakes as well.’
See the figures for yourself: www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/312/MASTERDATA.xls
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