General Article Youth unemployment: the crisis we cannot afford

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Youth unemployment is now one of the greatest challenges facing the country. Nearly 1.5 million young people are currently not in education, employment or training – over one in five of all young people. A quarter of a million have been unemployed for over a year. The costs of these levels of long-term youth unemployment – now and in the future – are enormous. This is a crisis we cannot afford.

Unemployment hurts at any age; but for young people, long-term unemployment scars for life. It means lower earnings, more unemployment, more ill health later in life. It means more inequality between rich and poor – because the pain hits the most disadvantaged. It poses particular challenges for young women. And it means more division between communities: we have identified youth unemployment ‘hotspots’ in 152 local authority areas around the country, where the proportion of young people claiming unemployment benefit is twice the national average, w

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