Youth joblessness not so severe, says stats critic

Julian Harris
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BRITAIN’S youth unemployment is bad but exaggerated by the government’s statistics office, an ex-Treasury statistician has said ahead of the latest labour market figures released on Wednesday.

Unemployed young people account for “barely one per cent of the population,” claimed economic data guru Simon Briscoe.

More young adults are attending tertiary education than ever before – a fact which the Office of National Statistics (ONS) ignores, distorting the figures, Briscoe claimed.

Whereas it has been reported that 18 per cent of young people are unemployed, when including young people in education (as not unemployed), the figure is less than 13 per cent.

“An unemployment rate under 13 per cent and a percentage point below where it was at the last peak in 1993 is just not so sexy – despite it being a more accurate measure of youth unemployment,” Briscoe said.

There are currently less than 400,000 people aged 18 to 24 claiming jobseekers’ allowance, compared to over 1m in the mid 1980s, and over 800,000 in the early 1990s -- although tougher conditions on benefits are partly behind the fall, he said.