Youth unemployment hits 17-year high

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Youth unemployment reached a record high in the last financial quarter, in a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Between July and September 2011, the number of young people aged 16-24 who were unemployed reached 1.02 million. All areas of the UK were affected, although it seems the East Midlands, North West and Northern Ireland were the most prosperous areas for young people, as here the number of unemployed either remained the same or fell.

Young people who are not in employment, education or training have been dubbed “neets” in recent times, and their numbers are at their highest since records began in 1992.

The Department of Education reported that in the South East, there were 159,000 neets during the third quarter of last year, and people of other age groups fared no better, as overall unemployment in the country rose by 128,000 to 2.64 million.

The Isle of Wight charity Foyer, which aids 16 to 24-year-olds, claimed the was the “worst ever for young people”. The disappointing figures have prompted the government to launch a £1bn programme to attempt to deal with youth unemployment and provide some hope to those who currently face a grim outlook for 2012.

Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince’s Trust youth charity, said “long-term unemployed young people are the most vulnerable, with many trapped in a vicious cycle of joblessness, anxiety and depression.”

The will no doubt cause concern for graduates struggling to find work in the uncertain financial climate. Graeme Leach, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said, “The ongoing failure to resolve the euro crisis is likely to mean that unemployment rises still further over the winter. Many businesses are still watching and waiting.”

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