Lack of jobs for young people  “scandalous”, says Yeovil Labour Party

Rebecca Haselgrove- Yeovil Labour Women’s Officer

New figures show that the economic recession is squeezing 16-24 year old’s out of the jobs market.  Young people are bearing the brunt of the recession, both here in Somerset and across the country. This is a scandal that needs addressing urgently, says Yeovil Labour Party. With new jobs becoming few and far between, those leaving education are finding it very much more difficult to get into employment. The worsening job market is also hitting students, as many rely on part-time jobs to fund their education .Young people’s jobs have been disproportionately clustered in retail, bars , cafes and takeaways, which have been hard-hit by the recession and Covid restrictions.

A special analysis of the latest  official statistics found that the total number of  16–24-year-olds in work has fallen much faster than jobs for older people, accounting for more than half (59%) of the total fall in jobs in the past year

UK Employment by age  (thousands)

Age band Employment Q1 2021 Fall since Q1 2020 Per cent change in past year
16-24 3,482 -311 -8.2%
25-34 7,601 -30 -0.4%
35-49 10,843 -31 -0.2%
50-64 9,247 -147 -1.6%
All ages over 16 32,476 -529 -1.6%
James Bamford-Yeovil Labour Youth Officer

Source: Office of National Statistics Labour Market data. (Q1 = January to March)

The unemployment rate is also much higher for younger workers than  the 4.8% rate for all ages across the whole economy. The rate for 18–24-year-olds has now risen to 12.0%, whilst the unemployment  rate for 16–17-year-olds is a shocking 30.1%

The latest statistics for Yeovil constituency and Somerset County both show a very strong increase in the number of young people claiming benefits, with numbers more than doubling in the past twelve months.

There are now 2,893 18–24-year-olds claiming benefit in Somerset, an increase of 1,528 since last year.

602 young people in Yeovil constituency are now claiming benefit, compared  to just  255 last year.

18–24-year-olds claiming benefit

  Jan-March  2021 Rise since Q1 2020 Per cent increase
Yeovil Constituency 602 +347 +136.1%
Somerset County 2,893 +1,528 +111.8%

Source : Office of National Statistics local area data (note: a 100% increase would mean  number has doubled)

The local Labour Party is calling for a package of measures to help young people into work, including more investment by government. Local employers are also urged to do their bit, by taking on more apprentices.

Terry Ledlie-Yeovil Labour Chair

James Bamford, Yeovil Labour Party Youth Officer, said: “Not only is the disproportionate effect on youth unemployment shamefully unfair, it is also ultimately counter-intuitive to the economic progress we as a nation wish to achieve. As a result of these figures, young people from less affluent backgrounds will see the ambition of higher education as an even greater impossibility. Stacking the odds against young people will only stunt our progress as a nation in time.”

Rebecca Haselgrove, Yeovil Labour Women’s Officer, said “We should make sure that young women are not left behind as we come out of the Covid crisis. One thing that have learned is that homeworking and flexibility work very well. We need to build on this lesson so that more women can more easily manage work and caring responsibilities. “

Terry Ledlie,  Yeovil Labour Party chair, added “It is absolutely vital that  we support young people  in their journey through education and training and into good jobs. They are the future of this country and have  the skills and  energy to help drive the economic recovery of this nation. Government must make sure that they have a fair chance.”


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