Unemployment falls again but fears grow of ‘lost generation’

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The number of people out of work in Yorkshire has fallen for the third successive month as the region again bucked a trend of rising unemployment across other parts of northern England.

But there are mounting fears about the growing “hard core” of young people in the region who have been out of work and stuck on benefits for more than a year, which rose seven per cent to more than 7,700 in May.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling told the Yorkshire Post yesterday he “will not countenance” the prospect of a “lost generation” who never become part of functioning society.

“That hard core of young people are a real priority,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and we don’t pretend for a moment that this challenge is not there.

“I don’t want to countenance the prospect of a ‘lost generation’ because we have to make sure we don’t leave young people out of work for years and years on end,”

Mr Grayling said the Coalition now has a package of programmes designed to address the youth unemployment crisis.

“Our view is the best way of tackling this issue is getting those young people into apprenticeships if we can,” he said. “We have massively expanded the new apprenticeship programme. We’ve also put in place support for employers through the Youth Contract, which provides a wage incentive. I hope we will see an impact fairly soon.”

The wider employment picture was relatively good for the region and the UK as a whole, with unemployment down in Yorkshire by 13,000 in the three months up to June – the third such fall in a row.

Nationally, unemployment fell by 51,000 in May, although there were regional rises in the North East and North West.

“I’m cautiously optimistic, but it’s much too early to call this a real trend,” Mr Grayling said.

Labour again raised concerns about the difficulty of getting a job in areas such as Hull North, however, where there are 43 jobseekers chasing every vacancy.