Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

From School to Dole: Young Swell Ranks of Unemployed; One in Five Under-25s Is out of Work as Recession Hits Crunch Generation

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

From School to Dole: Young Swell Ranks of Unemployed; One in Five Under-25s Is out of Work as Recession Hits Crunch Generation

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Prynn and Nicholas Cecil

THE youth unemployment crisis deepened today as the jobless rate among under 25s looking for work hit one in five.

Hundreds of thousands of school leavers and new graduates poured into the jobs market over the summer but many have been unable to find employment, official figures reveal today. The sudden rise in youth unemployment has alarmed ministers, who fear the emergence of a new generation locked out of the labour market as many of their parents were in the early Eighties. The Government is desperate to avoid a "joblite" economic recovery and is drawing up plans to help young people find work.

The number of 16- to 24-year-olds on benefits is approaching the record highs seen in the Thatcher recession when a million young people claimed from the state.

It has already passed the levels seen in the early Nineties when a young Gordon Brown complained about "a lost generation" of teenagers. Ministers are concerned that unemployment could remain above two million for many years.

"Unemployment in the Eighties was over two million for most of the decade," said Work Secretary Yvette Cooper. "In the Nineties, the Tories pushed over a million more onto longterm sickness benefit. Both cost billions of pounds."

A white paper, due to be published with the pre-Budget report in November, is expected to set out measures to curb unemployment. It will focus on young people, older individuals out of work for more than six months, mothers and people signed off sick long-term and with mental health problems.

Ms Cooper said: "Almost [pounds sterling]700 million is saved for every 100,000 people who come off the dole. Investing now to prevent long-term unemployment will save more money once the economy is growing strongly again."

The depth and severity of the recession has hit teenagers particularly hard with employers apparently reluctant to take on workers they have to train.

About 300,000 graduates and 400,000 school leavers started looking for work this summer. They are often the first to be made redundant because they are cheaper to fire. About a third of the people made jobless in the last year were aged 18 to 24. …

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