Unemployment down but debt ‘high among young jobless’

When it comes to unemployment statistics, there will always be different interpretations, not least where party politics is involved. But there may ap…

When it comes to unemployment statistics, there will always be different interpretations, not least where party politics is involved. But there may appear to be some good news this month.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics has indicated the situation improved in the three months to February, with the proportion of those aged between 16 and 64 in work rising 0.2 per cent to 70.7 per cent, a jump of 143,000.

And at the same time, 17,000 fewer were unemployed, a 0.1 per cent dip to 7.8 per cent, or 2.48 million.

However, there was a rise of 700 in the number claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance between February and March, taking the total to £1.45 million.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said he was pleased that the new jobs came from the private sector, which it is so keen to see flourish and replace the public sector posts its cuts will see shed.

“It is also reassuring to see a fall in the number of young people not in full time education who are unemployed,” he added, but noted more needs to be done.

But despite this, the debt situation for many young people is a significant one, according to the Money Advice Trust, which said 55,000 young unemployed people have debt problems and that 5.8 per cent of those out of work are facing “unmanageable debt”.

Chief executive of the trust Joanna Elson said: “This is a desperately sad situation for so many young people to face. Dealing with debt can be a distressing experience which impacts right across our lives.”

So while the employment figures may spell good news for some, the financial problems it has caused for others may need significant amounts of debt management to resolve.

By Amy White

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