This fall is welcome news, but we must not underestimate the scale of the youth unemployment challenge that this country faces. Nearly a million young people are still struggling to find work - and the truth is that we are making the problem worse by allowing them to leave school without the skills they need to manage their finances in tough times.
Budgeting the money that you have, understanding how benefits work and knowing where to go to get help are just some of the financial skills that are absolutely essential when searching for your first job. And yet millions of young people are leaving school without the financial education they need.
At the moment, we run the risk of setting young people up for failure. We urgently need financial education to be taught in every school in the UK, to ensure that all young people enter adult life with the skills they need to be able to survive and thrive in our economy.
Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: "It's a real landmark to see more people in work than ever before. The private sector continues to create jobs and our welfare reforms are encouraging people to return to work with 170,000 fewer people on the main out-of-work benefits than in May.
The big fall in youth unemployment is particularly welcome, but we know this remains a challenge, which is why we have the 1 billion Youth Contract offering nearly 500,000 work experience places, apprenticeships and wage incentives to help young people get a job.
Employment grew in the quarter to August, highest since records began in 1971.
- The Office for National Statistics also reported that part-time employment increased by 125,000 between March and May to a record high of 8.13 million.
- The number of people in part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work was close to a record high at 1.4 million.
- Self-employment has also increased, up by 35,000 to 4.2 million, while the number of unpaid workers in a family business rose by 2,000 to 112,000.
- Read the full statistics here.
The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance last month fell by 4,000 to 1.57 million.
Unemployment fell by 50,000 between June and August to 2.53 million. Official figures show employment has now reached a record high of almost 30 million.
With more than a million 16 to 24-year-olds unemployed the Joseph Rowntree Foundation today published a report on the challenges facing young people in the jobs market. Sending 2,000 job applications from fictional candidates with at least five good GCSEs and relevant work experience. They found:
- Over two-thirds of applications received no response at all
- 78% of the jobs applied for paid under £7 an hour, while 54% offered the minimum wage. Just 24% of the vacancies offered full-time, daytime work.
- Jobseekers who do not have high-speed internet at home are at a substantial disadvantage and can only search for jobs sporadically, rather than the daily basis that is required.
It's shocking that with so many young people unable to find jobs, ministers have slashed support to help them get their careers off the ground. This short-sighted attitude is not just making young people angry, it's hurting the parents and grandparents of young people who desperately want them to have a better start to their working lives.
The Trade Unions Congress today publishes a report on youth unemployment analysing official unemployment data over the last decade. It finds that:
- Young black men have experienced the sharpest rise in unemployment since the coalition came to power, with more than one in four of all black 16-24 year-olds (26 percent) currently out of work.
- The report also finds that white and Asian youngsters are now twice as likely to be out of work as those from the same ethnic group over the age of 24.
- Young Asian women are experiencing the sharpest rise in unemployment, doubling in the last decade.
The UK is in the midst of a youth jobs crisis. Over a million youngsters are out of work and many more are struggling to find the finances needed to further their education.
Last week the Prime Minister singled out employment as a great success of the government. That's cold comfort to the one in four young black men struggling for work, or the one in six jobless young black women.
It's important we have measures that provide more full-time, decent-paying jobs that can ensure work pays. A lack of success in the jobs market saps confidence, demotivates and leaves a scar across a generation of young people, while part-time, low-pay work traps people in poverty.
On the day the latest unemployment statistics are released, this report makes for grim reading for young people. The intense competition shows the main problem is more fundamental - a major shortage of jobs.