Interactive Investor

NEET figures ‘encouraging’

27th May 2021 12:01

Myron Jobson from interactive investor

interactive investor comments on ONS latest young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) estimates.


The Office for National Statistics has today revealed estimates of young people who were not in education, employment or training in January to March 2021.

Commenting, Myron Jobson, Personal Finance Campaigner, interactive investor, says: “The figures are encouraging but the full picture is yet to be painted.

“The furlough scheme has helped to maintain jobs, including apprentices who otherwise might have been at risk of redundancy. The recruitment drive in the hospitality sector is also likely to have helped matters. The sector has ramped up recruitment efforts ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions to help to fill the labour chasm in the sector as a result of redundancies at the height of the pandemic and workers leaving the sector because of a perceived lack of job security.

“The concern is around quality. What percentage of young people in employment are on temporary contracts? Meanwhile, while schools have done an amazing job stepping up to the challenge of remote educating, in February, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that by the time the pandemic is over, most children across the UK will have missed over half a year of normal, in-person schooling. That’s likely to be more than 5% of their entire time in school and while we can only speculate about the lifetime cost of this, for some young people could be significant.

“The government has made a number of interventions aimed at supporting young people's jobs, including investment in employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships.

“For example, the Kickstart Scheme, which launched in September 2020, provides funding to create new jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds, but only 16,500 people have been hired through the scheme since launch in September.

“Vital to the success of these types of initiatives is how sustainable those jobs are. The Covid restrictions have hindered businesses' ability to bring people into work, but as restriction eases, the hope is more opportunities will manifest to allow young people to flourish.”

Key points

  • The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET in January to March 2021 was estimated at 10.6%, which is a record low; the proportion was down 1.0 percentage points compared with October to December 2020 and down 0.4 percentage points compared with pre-pandemic in October to December 2019.
  • Of all young people in the UK who were NEET in January to March 2021, an estimated 43.9% were looking for, and available for work and therefore classified as unemployed; the remainder were either not looking for work and/or not available for work and were classified as economically inactive.
  • There were an estimated 728,000 young people in the UK who were NEET in January to March 2021, which is a record low; the number had decreased by 69,000 compared with October to December 2020 and was down 35,000 compared with October to December 2019.
  • The estimated number of people who were NEET and economically inactive in January to March 2021 was 408,000, which is a record low.

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