July 16, 2020 2.52 pm This story is over 46 months old

Youth unemployment in Lincolnshire surges in COVID-19 lockdown

The figures have more than doubled since last July

Youth unemployment across Greater Lincolnshire has more than doubled in the last year with the months of coronavirus lockdown seeing the greatest increase.

The latest job figures from the Office of National Statistics show that there were 38,910 people claiming employment benefit last month compared to 18,895 in July last year.

For those aged 16-24, the figure was 8,210 last month compared to 4,095 last year – an increase of 4,115.

In both cases there was a sudden upsurge in claims from March onwards this year, with April’s figures being 50.89% higher in terms of youth unemployment.

Social justice charity Nacro said the figures “reflect an unfair burden on young people as they have born the brunt of the COVID-related economic downturn”.

Unemployment levels for all ages over the past 12 months. Source: Nomis

Zoe Whitmore, Principal of Nacro in Spalding said: “Not since the 1980s have we seen a collapse of the youth labour market like we are seeing today.

“Many young people find their plans on hold and the rug pulled out from under them.

However, she added: “There are options out there. It is important now that young people stay in education and training and prepare for the jobs market of the future to give them the best chance in this more competitive future.”

The highest area for youth unemployment across the region last month was North East Lincolnshire which had 1,495 claimants, compared to 910 last year.

In Lincolnshire, the district most affected was Boston, which saw 1,085 claimants compared to 450 last year.

Youth Unemployment levels for 16-24-year-olds over the past 12 months. Source: Nomis

Meanwhile, the county’s capital Lincoln saw 1,020 claimants – up from 525 last June.

Nationally, youth employment has increased by 47,000 on the year.

Last month also saw a continued increase in Universal Credit in Lincolnshire, however, this was smaller than the previous two months, which was a jump of 14,000 between March-April and 9,000 between April-May.

Universal Credit covers six major benefits and the figures cover those both in and out of work, including self-employed and those who have been furloughed.

June saw figures increase by a further 2,165 for the county – a rise of 3.77%.

Unemployment levels for all ages over the past five years. Source: Nomis

East Lindsey continues to have the majority of claimants with 12,615, followed by South Kesteven with 10,664.

Stuart Roberts, an Employer Advisor based in Boston, said it was “important people are aware there’s support and help for them”.

He said the reduced increase was likely down to people returning to work and self-employed starting up again as lockdown restrictions are implemented.

“The important thing is we’re going to keep helping people and keep supporting them,” he added.

Since the pandemic began, billions has been poured into the welfare system by the government.

A comparison of the latest Universal Credit numbers for May-June. Source: DWP

The latest moves have seen plans to double the number of work coaches nationally, a £2 billion kickstart scheme to provide six-month placements from Autumn, £150million to boost flexible support, expanding the youth offerings and increasing participation in sector-based work academies.

A number of initiatives locally have included virtual job fairs and mentoring programmes, teleconferences with NHS employers, and funding support for transport.

There are currently 896 live jobs on the Find a Job Website, including youth support workers, warehouse operatives, retail positions and vacancies in logistics as well as the NHS.