How to interpret the youth unemployment rate

7 March 2014

You could be forgiven for thinking the youth unemployment rate shows how many young people are without a job. But this is not the case, as the Telegraph explores in a piece today:

"Youth unemployment has hovered around 20pc for some time now," said ONS spokesman David Bradbury. "But when you see headlines saying, 'One-in- five young unemployed', that's not completely correct and doesn't paint the full picture."

That's because the unemployment rate only applies to some young people; it shows the proportion of those in the labour force who are unemployed. Many young people, particularly students, are economically inactive - meaning they are not employed and not seeking employment. They are not factored into the calculation.

The proportion of all 16-24s who are unemployed is around 13%, according to the latest release on the subject from the ONS. This compares to 51% who are employed and 36% who are economically inactive.Youth employment 2

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