Youth Unemployment, The Lost Generation and Reversing the Emerging Trends


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This week’s headline which caught my attention was “youth unemployment is above one million for the first time since 1986”. Many commentators are talking of the “lost generation”. Whilst UK youth unemployment at 21.9% is better than Spain (44.3%), Greece ( 36%) and Italy (28.6%), it is worse than France (20.6%), Germany (8.1%)  and the Netherlands (6.9%).

In the appendix below, I have provided links to much of the media coverage of this alarming story. Key themes include:

  • A “lost generation” of young people are at risk of debt, panic attacks, depression, self-loathing
  • Long term unemployment (out of work for a year or more) surged by 31,000 over three months, with approaching a half a million people unemployed for two years or more representing a 29% increase in a year
  • Number of foreign-born workers jumps 181,000 in a year
  • Evidence emerging of a deteriorating north/south divide, with the largest decrease in employment being in the North East, with the only regional improvement being in the South West
  • Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister cited the Euro-zone crisis as being responsible but this position was very widely challenged
  • Prime Minister, David Cameron calls an emergency breakfast meeting with representatives of the UK big Private Sector employers
  • Business leaders say they prefer workers born abroad because of the lack of basic skills in UK workers
  • The British Chamber of Commerce highlighted that school leavers and graduates with “fairly useless degrees” were unemployable because of the lack of basic skills, clarifying that it’s the education that is at fault not the individuals
  • The Government responded with a new scheme to give small firms £1,500 cash incentive for hiring an apprentice for the first time
  • The age group has been seriously negatively impacted by two critical policy changes: (1) the EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance), a benefit paid to under 19s to encourage them to stay in full-time education has been abolished; and (2) the mandatory education participation age is rising from sixteen to eighteen during this parliament, a Labour policy implemented by the Coalition Government

The statistics confirm that the Private Sector is not creating jobs sufficiently quickly to replace those lost in the Public Sector in the drive for austerity.

 My personal view is that the statistics only tell a part of the story, in their detached objectivity. If you are a family with unemployed youths, or indeed are one of those statistics and are unemployed, the reality is often much worse, driven by fear, anxiety and desperation. It is necessary for policy makers to get closer to the subjective reality – this is quite difficult for ministers from privileged backgrounds, like the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister or the Chancellor. Inviting big business cronies to emergency breakfast meetings probably provides little encouragement to unemployed youth nor their families. Meanwhile, doors remain open for privileged young people in terms of gaining work experience. Major universities have made enormous advances in attracting students from less advantaged backgrounds, and it now perhaps about time that employers did the same.

Sadly, many of the opportunities that are classified as work experience are probably inappropriate in building youngers’ future lives. Have you looked into the eyes of many of the youngers stacking shelves in your local supermarket? Unfortunately, successive UK Governments of both left and right have not given any time to industry policies like in France or Germany. Some argue that the Government should be encouraging growth in manufacturing – personally, I think that it is a generation too late.

The policy challenge is surely that we need a new generation of “skilled jobs”, not a national expertise in stacking supermarket shelves, whilst the skilled jobs are increasingly going to foreigners – so perhaps there is an urgent case to look at immigration policies?

Perhaps, David Cameron should take a leaf out of the new Italian Prime Minister’s book (an unelected technocrat), and start bringing technocrats into his Government? Certainly, a number of Government ministers do not seem to have the right blend of education, real world experience and tenacity to deal with deteriorating trends?



  1. Graphic: #unemployment and youth unemployment since 2001 – Daily Telegraph News
  2.  Number of foreign workers employed in the UK has risen by almost 150,000 even as #unemployment increased  – Daily Telegraph News
  3.  Youth #unemployment level ‘shocking’, say unions and business groups who today joined forces to call for urgent action – The Independent
  4.  Foreign workers take yet more UK jobs (as number of Britons in work plunges and youth unemployment hits 1million) – Daily Mail Online
  5.  Youth unemployment in the UK has risen to a record high of over a million – official figures – BBC Breaking News
  6. Youth Unemployment Hits Record Million – Sky News
  7. The Business podcast: a million young people unemployed – The Guardian
  8. Youth unemployment mapped – The Guardian
  9.  Coalition sheds crocodile tears over young jobless – The Guardian
  10.  Youth unemployment hits 1 million  – The Guardian
  11.  Job creation scheme praised by David Cameron is threatened by cuts – The Guardian
  12.  VIDEO: Eurozone ‘not behind’ UK unemployment – BBC Politics
  13.  Outlook is bleak outside the labour market – – Financial Times
  14. UK youth jobless total passes one million – Financial Times
  15.  Bagehot: Recessions and the young | – The Economist

8 responses

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  6. As long as this country remains in the EC it cannot look at immigration policies because the Treaty of Rome calls for free movement of goods services and people.

    Currently the total official UK population is 61.5 million but the real figure including illegal immigrants is 65.5 million based on the amounts of food purchased in supermarkets and the number of notes ,coins and high denomination notes in circulation.

    In addition there are 19 million more NI numbers than there are people in the official workforce of 31.5 million people.

    These numbers can and are available in seedy pubs for around £200 gbp making it possible for one person to assume multiple identities and claim benefit from up to 22 different dole offices and work at the same time(A Sunday Times Insight team investigation identified the problem so this is not a “Daily Mail” scare story).

    The UK economy is flatlining with no credible plan for growth and we have averaged 1.4% growth since 1946 whilst at the same time allowing our state education system to be overtaken by 46 countries since 1960 including Singapore, South Korea, China, Finland, Denmark,Sweden, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, Denmark, Russia, Norway, Holland, Denmark, Poland, France, Hungary for Mathematics, Switzerland etc, etc, etc.

    We have allowed fluoride and aspartame to be deliberately introduced into the British diet and this has lowered IQs’, created an explosion of ADD and ADHD in our youngsters which has when combined with trendy teaching methods and indiscipline made our youngsters practically unemployable and unable to compete with better educated foreign children and better motivated workers.

    David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce said in the Daily Telegraph of 2/7/11, “They,the employers expect young people to come forward to them who are able to read, communicate and have a good work ethic and too often that’s not the case and there’s a stream of Eastern European migrants who are able to fill these jobs”.”These migrants are skilled,they have a very strong work ethic and they simply get on with the job” – “After 11 years of formal education employers say they get kids coming to them who can’t read,can;t write and can’t communicate.

    Employers are simply not creating enough jobs in the private sector to replace the jobs lost in the public sector which were in many cases non jobs anyway so these young people will be warehoused on the dole unless the Government reverses the Bilderberg/Club of Rome mandated policy of moving employment to the Far East, creating a United States of Europe and engineering the English out of existence by stealth and by encouraging the so called Celtic fringe to become independent.

    The process of marginalisation of the population below socio economic group B is occurring on a number of levels:
    –Bisphenol A a chemical used to harden plastic and coat till rolls is not banned in this country but causes infertility in men, a greater proportion of gay men to be produced and the lowest sperm count in Europe.
    –Restricting mortgage finance ensures that the average age for a male in England buying a house for the first time without help is 38 and rising
    –Creating male unemployment amongst the C2’s,C1’s,D’s and E’s in sink areas encourages early death and depression,sometimes in people as young as 40.
    –Rationing health care amongst pensioners and restricting access to expensive drugs stops this group from living too long.

    Young people who are academically inclined would be well advised to learn their discipline, learn a useful foreign language and seek their fortune elsewhere because what the Government is doing will not produce enough jobs and Messrs Cameron, Osborn, Clarke, Hughn, Hughes and Clegg are all “Bilderbergers” and will do nothing to get us out of the EC or take action to export our way out of trouble as I have suggested many times before.

    Those of a more practical nature need to become self employed tradespeople.

    • John,

      Many thanks for taking time to read my blog and provide a detailed response. I broadly agree with your argument, especially the last sentence about youngsters considering being self-employed

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