Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Youngsters without work
The job total for the United Kingdom again rose in the last three months. The figure now stands at 2.67 million people out of work an increase of 48,000 since December. This is the highest level since 1995.
There is however some good news in Wales were the numbers actually fell by 3000 to 134,000. This follows a drop of 1000 for the previous month. But comparing Wales with an year ago, unemployment is 12,000 higher and the Welsh unemployment rate is above the UK average.
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) the unemployment rate for the UK is 8.4% whilst for Wales it remains stubbornly high at 9%.
The number of young people without a job rose 22,000, 1.04 million in the three months to December, taking the unemployment rate for 16-to 24-year-olds to 22.2%.
In Wales those claiming in this group of young people was 26.2%. The Claimant Count Unemployment level was 28,200, an increase of 3,600 on January 2011.
This is a worrying increase and shows again that over quarter of young people in Wales are without work. It shows that youngsters have borne the brunt of the recession
At the same time the ONS showed that average earnings increased by 2% in the year to December. This figure is unchanged from the previous month.
Despite the official figures showing the Consumer Prices Index showing inflation having fallen from 4.2% in December to 3.6% in January those in work still face a squeeze on the cash they have available to spend. Another pressure that depresses activity within the economy.
Most economists expect unemployment to rise much further in response to the weakness in the wider economy.
Indeed these latest figures indicate a very sick economy. Its very weak state surely should be a warning to the Chancellor that his approach is not producing the growth that is needed to reduce the country’s deficit.
A change of approach is needed and needed soon. Public money needs to be invested to grow the economy. The Obama approach(see yesterday’s blog) needs to be followed in the UK.
The Welsh Government needs also to be more proactive. It particularly needs to target help on helping young people. Any society that has such a large number of young people without work is storing up trouble for itself. The devil makes work for idle hands, and all that.
It must redouble its efforts in getting borrowing powers for itself, so that it can target and bring forward infrastructure schemes. It needs to explore worthwhile deals with local councils and registered social landlords who do have the powers to raise capital.
Urgency is required not complacency. Wales cannot afford to have a generation that have never experienced work. A message should go to Carwyn Jones and his team, redouble your efforts if you’re to stand up for Wales.