Youth unemployment is at a “critical moment” as the end of the furlough scheme approaches, charities have warned, despite the labour market showing “signs of recovery” overall.
Unemployment fell to 4.7 per cent between February and April, according to new Office for National Statistics figures, down on 4.8 per cent in the previous three months as the number of payrolled employees increased for the sixth consecutive month to 28.5 million.
Three of the hardest–hit sectors during the pandemic – accommodation and food services, people living in London, and people aged under 25 – rallied the most during the period but are still seeing employment rates well below pre-pandemic levels.
With a higher proportion of 16 to 24 year–olds out of work – 13.2 per cent compared to 4.7 per cent across the working population – charities have called for a plan to ensure recovery signs are maintained beyond the end of the furlough scheme and the £20 universal credit increase.
I think in the educational system, we’re not taught to be business owners, we’re taught to be people that clock in from a job work for someone else
Steve Haines, director of public affairs at youth charity Impetus, told The Big Issue the end of support risks could be a crisis point and young workers needed targeted support for the prime minister’s “opportunity guarantee” promise to come to fruition.
“This is a critical moment for youth employment. While today’s labour market statistics show positive signs for the economy, we mustn’t fall asleep at the watch and allow an uneven recovery,” said Haines.