The Office of National Statistics Labour market stats are out today. Despite the Government-funded Economic and Social Reform Council’s report earlier last week saying that we were out of recession, today’s outlook is very concerning. Official figures show that unemployment has hit 2.26m and that the jobless rate has risen to 7.2% – the highest since July 1997. This means that the last few months have seen the biggest fall in employment on record.
Even more worrying is that the unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds is now at 16.6%. Unemployment is a scourge for young people. To have young people, with their hopes for the future, unable to find work and even facing the prospect of long-term unemployment, is bad news for Britain. We want better Government help for apprentices so that they can continue their training even they lose their jobs. We must also find opportunities for them to work so that their newly acquired skills do not get rusty.