A FALL in overall unemployment including youth unemployment and a big rise in the number of people in full time jobs is welcome news, Employment Minister Chris Grayling said today (May 18).
New figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that unemployment has fallen by 36,000 on the quarter to 2.45 million. For 16-24- year-olds not in education the figure has fallen 40,000 on the quarter to 646,000.
Ministers are clear that while these figures are encouraging their priority remains to focus on the economy, cut the deficit and create an environment where businesses can grow. To support the millions cast aside on benefits they are pressing ahead with the new Work Programme, which becomes available next month to ensure that people get the support they need to get into work.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance is up by 12,440 on the previous month but is still down 46,000 compared to the same month last year. Much of the rise can be attributed to Government’s welfare reforms - in March the number of lone parents on Jobseeker’s Allowance rose by 6,000, about the same as the rise in the overall caseload that month.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: “These are welcome figures showing another rise in full-time employment in the private sector. It’s good news to see that unemployment is also going in the right direction and pleasing that unemployment has fallen for young people.
“We’re determined to tackle youth unemployment, which is why we’ve taken steps to ensure that young people get the best possible support to get back to work, including lining up thousands of employers to provide work experience places and introducing apprenticeship places. From next month our new Work Programme will be available for people of all ages who need extra tailored support to get into jobs.”
Last week the Government announced that thousands of people on benefits will get extra help to find a job from this August with new sector-based work academies. Work academies will give up to six weeks training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview in specific sectors where there is a high demand for well-trained staff. The first ones will focus on the hospitality and retail sector and it is expected there will be up to 50,000 places over the next two years.
Jobseekers that need extra support will be helped back into sustained employment via the new Work Programme, which comes on stream in the summer. Private and voluntary sector organisations will be investing £581 million upfront in what will be the biggest welfare to work programme this country has ever seen to provide tailored support built around the needs of individuals. Organisations will be paid by results and allowed to develop support that really addresses the needs of jobseekers.