Young adult unemployment
Graphs on this page:
- The ‘unemployment rate’ is the proportion of the ‘economically active’ population who are not working (i.e. the number who are unemployed divided by the number who are either in paid work or unemployed, excluding those who are ‘economically inactive’ from both the numerator and the denominator).
- The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds has risen sharply in the current recession, from 13% in 2008 to 20% in 2010. This rise has more than offset all the falls during the previous 15 years and, as a result, the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds in 2010 was actually higher than its previous peak in 1993.
- Although this trend (fall slowly throughout the period from 1995 to 2008 before rising sharply in 2009 and 2010) is similar to that for older workers, both the fall prior to 2008 and the rise in 2008 to 2010 were proportionally less than those for older workers. The net result is that the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds is now three times the rate for older workers. By contrast, in the mid-1990s, it was ‘just’ twice the rate for older workers.
- As a result, around two-fifths of all those who are unemployed are now aged under 25.
- The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds in Scotland is somewhat below the United Kingdom average.
- See the indicator on the wider issue of lack of work among working-age adults as a whole.
Definitions and data sources
The first graph shows the unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 24, compared with those aged 25 and over (up to retirement).
The second graph shows the same information but in terms of the actual numbers unemployed.
The third graph shows how unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds in Scotland compares with the rest of the United Kingdom. To improve its statistical reliability, the data is the average for the latest three years.
‘Unemployment’ is the ILO definition, which is used for the official government unemployment numbers. It comprises all those with no paid work in the survey week who were available to start work in the next fortnight and who either looked for work in the last month or were waiting to start a job already obtained.
The unemployment rate is the percentage of the economically active population who are unemployed (i.e. the number who are unemployed divided by the number who are either in paid work or unemployed).
The data source for all the graphs is the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The figures for each year are the average for the four quarters of the relevant year.
Overall adequacy of the indicator: high. The LFS is a large, well-established, quarterly government survey designed to be representative of the population as a whole.