Figures published today show a continuing rise in UK unemployment, hiting 2.47 million as at the end of August. This figure is supposed to be lower than expected – indicating that the recession is coming to an end – but for those involved it is still high enough!
It is open to debate as to whether these figures really are a cause for economic rejoicing, not least because hidden away in the data are several signs that the hardcore element of the unemployed is growing in size. This is particularly the case as regards youth unemployment.
The figure for those 16 – 24 year-olds out of work has now hit 946,000 – with many more signing on over the last few weeks yet to be added to this total. The million mark is about to be hit. This figure represents a doubling since the start of the decade. Of these more than one in three have been out of work for more than six months – a total of 366,000. Such figures show an increasing rise in the number of youth for whom unemployment has become a normal state for them.
Data provided by the TUC this week shows that youth unemployment has been rising in virtually every part of the UK. The highest rises are to be found in the North West, Yorkshire and the West Midlands. Interestingly, although London has had one of the lowest rates of increase (up 0.9% since 2007) this is on the back of the already high rate of 18.5% which existed two years ago, before the recesion officially took hold. The West Midlands and the North also had high rates at the same time.
What this shows that even during the so-called ‘boom’ years, things were clearly not nearly as good as many claimed. Growth figures were poor considering the high profit figures being declared and raved about by the City of London and being matched by very nice bonuses for those at the top as a ‘reward’ for all their hard work. Despite successive governments’ efforts to massage unemployment figures, the reality is that ‘organic’ unemployment – that is, structurally firmly rooted in the system – never went away. This has now been added to by the hundreds of thousands who have now either lost jobs, or have not been able to get one in the first instance, since the recession started and firms started to slim down or go bust on the back of lost business and unsold goods and the removal of the credit safety net by banks seeking to save their own backs.
People go on about the ‘lost generation’ of young people with no job and little hope of getting one anytime soon. We demand a job for all with decent pay as a right. This is why we fight for socialism, the only system that can provide such a future, a real future, for all.
This article first appeared on Socialist Appeal.
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This post was written by Steve Jones