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On Monday 29th November, the Western Mail featured the Bevan Foundation’s latest analysis of employment figures, published on its blog the same day. Under the headline ‘Welsh Government job creation is a “drop in the ocean”, claims Bevan Foundation‘, the Western Mail article said:
Young people have borne the brunt of the recession in Wales and Government efforts to fight joblessness represent a “drop in the ocean,” a leading anti-poverty campaigner has warned.
Victoria Winckler of the Bevan Foundation has analysed the jobs figures for young people in Wales and said the “misery is a long way from over” for 16 to 24-year-olds.
She said: “Since the recession began in the second quarter of 2008, a total of 27,000 jobs have disappeared from Wales.
“They’ve gone from a mix of household names like Hoovers and Hotpoint, from small and medium sized businesses across the board, and increasingly from the public sector.
“Clearly, when those businesses and organisations laid-off workers people of all ages were let go. But our analysis of employment statistics suggests that it is young people who have suffered by far the most.”
She said that the number of people in the 16-24 age group in work had fallen from 204,500 four years ago to just 162,600 this year, a fall of nearly 42,000 jobs.
“To lose one in five jobs in just four years is devastating, and it leaves less than half of this age group working,” she said.
“Some of the decrease is because more and more young people are staying in education, but the main impact is seen in unemployment.
“The number of unemployed young people has increased by more than 15,000 since the recession began, up 50% for young men and 33% for young women.
“Six local authorities in Wales have male youth unemployment of over 30% – it’s a shocking 39% in Rhondda Cynon Taf – and three have female youth unemployment over this level.”
Ms Winckler noted that people in this age group get a reduced rate of Jobseekers’ Allowance – a maximum of £56.25. She added that they were limited to the ‘shared rate’ of help with their rent, stating that in Cardiff this amounted to a maximum of £55.38 a week.
She said: “Jobs Growth Wales is useful but an absolute drop in the ocean against this scale of unemployment – Wales’s 50,000 unemployed young people deserve more. Meanwhile, in the meagre five weeks that Assembly Members have sat since their summer break, the subject has not featured.”