Youth unemployment is a problem which, while not as severe as the headline rate implies, encompasses some intractable difficulties.
The 1.02m figure is a record but comparable data go back only to 1992. It was worse in the 1980s and more than a quarter are students looking for part-time work.
If these are excluded, 16 to 24-year-olds are 2.5 times more likely to be jobless than older people. But even in good times, youth unemployment is typically twice as high as aggregate unemployment because young people move in and out of jobs.
However, joblessness among the young has been growing since 2004, which suggests a deeper problem.
Studies suggest those who suffer unemployment in their youth can be “scarred” throughout their careers, earning lower salaries than they might have otherwise and progressing slowly.
The reasons why underlying youth unemployment started to rise are not entirely clear. Some blame immigration, though studies suggest migrant labour does not displace young Britons to a significant degree.
Others blame the minimum wage. The Low Pay Commission recommended lower increases for young people than adults this year because it said there was evidence the minimum level was affecting job prospects. However, academic studies in general have found little impact on jobs as a result of the minimum wage.
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