As recently as 2008 there were fewer than 6,000 18-24 year olds who had been on Jobseekers’ Allowance for more than a year. That number is now just under 50,000 – more than eight times as many. This is not just the recession and its aftermath: after falling back somewhat in the year to May 2011, the number has tripled, as shown in the chart below. The same is true for the proportion of claimants who have been claiming for more than a year.
In some regions, the figures are even worse – the North-East and South-West have seen a five-fold increase.
This is astonishing. For comparison, the total number of people claiming JSA has gone up by only 8%; the number of 18-24 year olds by 12%. Long-term JSA receipt among prime-age workers has increased substantially, as Tony Wilson points out in an excellent and detailed analysis here, but still not by anything like these amounts. Moreover, these sharp increases in long-term benefit receipt don’t appear to reflect developments in the wider labour market. While youth unemployment as measured by the wider Labour Force Survey (LFS) measure has increased – and remains at unacceptably, and unnecessarily, high levels – the increase since last year is much more muted. Long-term youth unemployment has hardly risen at all…