40% rise in long-term unemployment for black and minority ethnic young people
New figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that the number of black and minority ethnic (BAME) young people aged 18-24 out of work for over a year has risen by 40 per cent since 2010.
The figures show more than half of young black men available for work in Britain are now unemployed. The figures show the recession is hitting hard on young people from the BAME communities.
The new figures, which do not include students, also reveal that the youth unemployment rate for black people has increased at almost twice the rate for white 16- to 24-year-olds since the start of the recession in 2008. Young black men are the worst affected of all, according to a gender breakdown contained within the data supplied by the Office for National Statistics.
Unemployment among young black men has doubled in three years, rising from 28.8% in 2008 to 55.9% in the last three months of 2011.
Although the ONS said the gender breakdown should be treated with caution due to a relatively small sample size, the figures brought calls for further government action from business and community figures in the UK.
According to the ONS, in the last three months of 2008 the unemployment rate for black people aged 16 to 24 was 28.8%. In the most recent quarter in 2011, this had risen to 47.4% – an increase of 70% in three years. This is more than double the unemployment rate for young white people, which increased from 15% in 2008 to 20.8% in 2011. Unemployment among young black women, while still higher than any other ethnic group, is lower than the black male percentage, at 39.1%.
Data breaking down unemployment by ethnicity used to be routinely published alongside official unemployment figures, but has not been released since February 2011, apparently due to changes in how different ethnic groups are coded by official statisticians. However, the data is still collected as part of the official labour market survey, which is used to generate official unemployment figures, allowing this breakdown to be obtained.
Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, said: “The Government’s failure to get to grips with BAME youth unemployment shows their complacency towards Britain’s ethnic minority communities. Ethnic minority Britons have been hit hard by the cost of living crisis and many communities are really struggling.
“Labour’s BAME manifesto will outline our plan to build an economy that works for ethnic minority families and to tackle race inequality.”
Afzal Khan MEP, Vice- Chair of Security and Defence in the European Parliament, said: “These figures show young BAME people have being completely abandoned by this Tory/Lib Dem coalition government.
“The huge unfair spending cuts that the government has inflicted on councils across the North West have hit minority communities especially hard.
“A Labour government would stand up for BAME communities. Our compulsory jobs guarantee is a better plan to get young people back into work and we will take action to break down the barriers some minorities face when trying to find work.”
Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “The 40 per cent rise in the number of black and minority ethnic young people out of work in the North West for over a year since 2010 shows the Tory plan is failing. It is a huge waste of the next generation’s skills, potential and talent and it comes at a huge cost to young black and minority ethnic people, their families, taxpayers and the economy.
“Labour has a better plan to get young people back to work. Labour’s Compulsory Jobs Guarantee will offer a paid starter job to every young person who’s been claiming Jobseekers Allowance for over a year, work they’d have to take or risk losing benefits. Labour’s plan will give more than 3,200 young black and minority ethnic people who have been abandoned by David Cameron the chance to earn, learn and fulfil their potential.”