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Highly regionalised youth unemployment rates could impact local economies

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Youth unemployment varies greatly from region to region in the UK, with some cities becoming a hot spot for young people currently out of work.

A new report on youth unemployment rates has found that some areas of the country have over 25% of young people out of work.

Over a quarter of young people in Bradford, Middlesbrough, Swansea and Wolverhampton are currently unemployed.

The report, commissioned by accountancy firm EY, also found that the North East had the highest rate of unemployment (18.3%). The East of England had the lowest rate at 11.2%.

Mark Gregory, EY’s chief economist said: “A stubbornly high number of young people remain excluded from the labour market, which could be further exacerbated by a period of weaker economic growth in these uncertain times ahead.”

UK cities have become a hotbed for youth unemployment, as the majority of the country’s 48 cities have a higher rate of unemployment than the region they are in.

The largest gap was in the East Midlands, where Leicester’s 23.6% unemployment was more than double the rate of the region as a whole (11.7%). 

Gregory commented: “The wide variations in youth unemployment rates between the UK’s cities and regions underlines the importance of locally devised policy interventions, albeit coordinated nationally.”

This research could put pressure on employers to look wider in their local talent pool, focusing on training young workers once they take an entry level role.

Maryanne Matthews, chief executive of the EY Foundation said: “It is imperative that UK employers open their doors to invest in developing the skills of young people. By offering paid work experience opportunities to young people, this could lead to jobs in the future, reduce unemployment levels and help to address the UK skills gap.”

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