A report published yesterday by The Work Foundation highlights the continuing youth unemployment problems facing the UK economy, even as various other reports paint a positive picture of the recovery.

Although national unemployment has continued to fall to the lowest levels since the recession began, youth unemployment remains stubbornly high – above 25% in some cities. Underqualified 16-24 year olds are finding it especially hard to land a job – those with only GCSEs are twice as likely to be jobless than those with additional qualifications.

The youth unemployment rate in the UK’s largest towns and cities is more than double the national rate for all workers. Roughly 19% of 16-24 year olds in urban areas are unemployed, compared to 7.2% across all age groups.

The locations with the highest youth unemployment were Middlesbrough & Stockton, Barnsley, Glasgow, Grimsby and Coventry, all experiencing levels above 25%. Meanwhile Southampton proved the best city for youth employment, recording levels below 13%.

Head of youth unemployment at The Work Foundation Lizzie Crowley said of the findings:

“The UK’s youth unemployment crisis continues to affect almost a million young people – even in the recovery. It is shocking that in some cities almost a third of young people are looking for work but are unable to find it. Urgent action is needed to ensure young people get the right support to either continue in school, further training or with getting a job.

“Central Government’s top-down attempts to tackle the crisis have failed. Local government must now be tasked with setting up Youth Transition Partnerships to bring together schools, colleges, third sector organisations, and local businesses to develop tailored policy responses suitable for each city. National government must also back these partnerships by providing dedicated funding to ensure they can fulfil this duty effectively.”

Photo by Helen Cobain