Young black men experience sharpest rise in unemployment since 2010

By agency reporter
October 17, 2012

Young black men have experienced the sharpest rise in unemployment since the coalition came to power, with more than one in four of all black 16-24 year olds (26 per cent) currently out of work, according to a TUC report on youth unemployment published today (17 October).

The TUC report, published to coincide with the TUC Poverty conference at its central London HQ today, analyses official data on youth unemployment proportions and worklessness rates (16-24 year olds neither in work nor training) over the last decade.

The report also finds that white and Asian youngsters are now twice as likely to be unemployed as those from the same ethnic group over the age of 24.

Young black men are more likely to be unemployed than any other ethnic group, with over one in four (26 per cent) currently out of work. Young black women are the next most likely to be out of work (17 per cent), followed by white and Asian men (both 16 per cent).

Young Asian women have experienced the sharpest rise in unemployment over the last decade, rising from six per cent in 2002 to 13 per cent in 2012. However, they are still less likely to be unemployed than most other people their age.

The analysis shows that men are more likely to be unemployed than women amongst all ethnic groups, though the gender divide is starkest among white and black youngsters.

The proportion of young people who are not in work or education has been more stable, with worklessness rates for black and Asian youngsters actually falling between 2002 and 2010, most likely because high numbers of young people from these groups entered further and higher education, says the TUC.

However, in the last two years worklessness rates have started rising again. Young black men have once again been the most affected, increasing from 15 per cent to 22 per cent in the last two years.

The scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and the abolition of college-based apprenticeships are likely to have played a key role in holding back education prospects for young black men, the TUC says.

The report was released ahead of the latest unemployment statistics published later today and the TUC organised march and rally in central London this Saturday (20 October), where tens of thousands of people will be calling for an end to austerity economics and a future that works for everyone, including young people struggling to find or afford further education.

Further TUC research on long-term youth unemployment, published earlier this week, found that the number of 16-24 year olds out of work for at least six months had increased by 23 per cent over the last two years.

Support programmes to help young people back into work have been cut by 26 per cent over the same time period, illustrating the government's failure to put sufficient resources into tackling the UK's youth jobs crisis, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "The UK is in the midst of a youth jobs crisis. Over a million youngsters are out of work and many more are struggling to find the finances needed to further their education.

"Last week the Prime Minister singled out employment as a great success of the government. That's cold comfort to the one in four young black men struggling for work, or the one in six jobless young black women.

"It's shocking that with so many young people unable to find jobs, ministers have slashed support to help them get their careers off the ground. This short-sighted attitude is not just making young people angry, it's hurting the parents and grandparents of young people who desperately want them to have a better start to their working lives."

He concluded: "That is why people of all generations will be marching through London this Saturday calling for an end to austerity economics and a future that works for everyone."


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