THE scale of the jobs crisis facing youngsters was highlighted yesterday with new figures showing that their employment rate has fallen faster than for older workers since 2004.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed a gap of just 0.2 per cent at the start of 2004 between the employment rate of 25 to 64-year-olds (75.5 per cent) compared with 16 to 24-year-olds (75.3 per cent).
By the end of last year, the gap had widened to 8.9 per cent, with the rate for the younger group falling to 66 per cent.
The study also revealed that young people still in full-time education who also worked, were twice as likely to be in cleaning or bar jobs compared to those who had left school or college.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Now is certainly not the time to be young and looking for a job, with figures showing more than one million people under 24 around the UK are unable to find work.
“With a strong recovery still failing to take hold, the bleak prospects facing young jobseekers will be with us for some considerable time to come.
“With the toxic combination of increasing unemployment, high tuition fees and inadequate Government support for those people out of work, our unemployed young people have little choice but to join the back of the dole queue.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Tackling youth unemployment is an absolute priority for this Government.
“The Work Programme wil give people the skills and expertise employers look for and, as we all know, the jobs market is tough for young people; we have the work experience scheme, offering young jobseekers the opportunity to get invaluable experience in a range sectors.”