The alarming rise in youth unemployment figures could spell trouble for the UK’s debt situation, the Debt Advisory Line’s Jim Rowley has said. As more and more of those between 16 and 24 years of age find themselves struggling to find an occupation, not only were many of them likely to take up a credit to meet their daily needs or dole out cash for expensive education plans. More importantly, living with debt could turn into a normal condition for an entire generation: “The youth of this country are the foundation for future growth, stable economic development and a workable pension system“, according to Rowley, “This means that the problem of youth unemployment is by no means restricted to the young. If they’re unable to make their contribution, everyone will suffer the consequences.“
The numbers provided by the Office for National Statics unfortunately left desperately little space for optimism. In fact, their most recent report saw significant rises in unemployment almost across the board, confirming the gloomy forecasts by many market experts. According to the Office, there were 2.62 million unemployed people in the quarter from July to September of 2011. This translates to an unemployment rate of 8.3% and represents a hike by almost half a percentage point to the highest level since 1994. Much of this burden had to be carried by the young: Youth unemployment broke the barrier of one million for the first time since the early 90s, effectively, putting one in five young people out of work.
As depressingly clear-cut as the numbers may seem, they were interpreted in a multitude of different ways. While, to the opposition, the problems reflected a neglect of domestic affairs, the UK government was quick to point the finger at external pressure. According to Employment minister Chris Grayling, the recent political indecisiveness of European nations to come up with a solution to the Eurozone’s debt crisis were to blame: “These figures are bad news. They are I’m afraid the consequence of what we’re seeing in the Eurozone,” Grayling stated, “If you go back four months, unemployment was falling, youth unemployment was lower than 900,000. We’ve seen a big slowdown in the economy I think as a result of the crisis elsewhere.”
Whatever the reason for the problematic levels of youth unemployment, it was essential to take them serious. “From our point of view, this is one of the most pressing political issues“, Rowley stressed, “What is vital right now is to not just come up with employment schemes for the young, but to also make them aware of the dangers of building up debt. Otherwise, we may soon not just be facing high youth unemployment, but even higher insolvency levels to boot.“