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Young People: Unemployment

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the unemployment rate of 18 to 24-year-olds who (a) have no post-16 qualifications, (b) have A-Levels, (c) have a higher educational qualification and (d) have a further educational qualification (i) is and (ii) was in each year since 1995. (166886)

The exact information requested could not be derived as a time series. Instead, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) was used to produce a time series with a slightly different qualification categories to those requested. The following table shows the estimates of unemployment rates by qualification held for adults aged 18-24 in England, using the LFS spring quarter (March to May) results between 1995 and 2005 and Quarter 2 results (April to June) for 2006 and 2007. The fact that there was a change in the reporting period of the LFS results means that the figures for 2006 and 2007 and not strictly comparable with those for earlier years as these estimates are subject to seasonality. However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) does publish on its website a seasonally adjusted time series of the unemployment rate for 18 to 24-year-olds in the UK. This shows for example, that the rate fell from 13.1 per cent. in spring 1997 to 12.0 per cent. in the last quarter of 2007.

Our preferred measure of graduate unemployment is provided by the annual “Destination of Leavers from HE survey (DLHE)” which is available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Unemployment rate1 for 18 to 24-year-olds by educational attainment, England

Percentage

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

20066

20076

Average 1995-2007

Higher education qualifications2

39.9

10.2

6.0

6.6

4.6

4.9

4.6

5.9

5.1

3.6

6.5

8.1

6.7

6.4

One or more A-levels4

13.4

9.5

9.5

8.5

7.8

8.6

6.9

6.2

9.0

7.3

7.5

11.9

9.6

8.9

A-level equivalents including apprenticeships5

9.9

8.4

7.6

6.8

7.0

5.0

5.2

6.2

6.0

4.2

4.2

7.1

7.5

6.5

One or more GCSE A*-C or equiv/other

14.2

14.0

12.8

12.2

11.7

11.4

10.7

11.1

11.8

12.2

12.3

14.4

16.3

12.7

No qualifications

34.2

33.3

33.3

29.9

31.2

27.6

24.8

22.6

26.2

25.2

26.6

27.9

27.7

28.5

All

14.5

13.7

12.0

11.1

10.3

9.7

8.9

9.2

9.8

9.1

9.9

12.5

12.4

11.0

1 The unemployment rate is defined as the unemployed (those actively seeking work in the last four weeks and available to start within two weeks) expressed as a percentage of the economically active (the unemployed plus the employed).

2 The 18-24 age range is not very suitable for measuring unemployment of graduates, since most of them are in full-time study for around half this period.

3 The confidence intervals due to sample error for cells in the table do vary, but are at least plus or minus 1.0 per cent.

4 The “A levels” category includes all ‘A’ levels attained at all institutions (including further education institutions).

5 “Further Education qualifications” can be attained at a variety of levels. In this analysis the “A level equivalents” category largely consists of vocational level 3 qualifications, but will also include some with AS-levels and also apprenticeships which may be at level 2. Vocational level 3 qualifications are often but not always obtained at FE colleges.

6 These figures are for Q2 (April to June); figures for earlier years are spring (March to May).