School leavers are facing a tougher jobs market
New government figures have provided fresh evidence young people are being hit hard by the recession.
In the space of a year, the proportion securing jobs after leaving school has fallen 6% to 29%.
But 16% of those who left school last summer are doing virtually nothing - up 3% on the level of the year before.
The Scottish Government said it was taking steps to ensure young people were usefully employed and to help people during the current downturn.
Minister for schools and skills Keith Brown said: "The Scottish Government has a strategy to provide More Choices More Chances for young people who need support to reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training.
"It focuses on engaging those who are at risk of disengagement; re-engaging those who are already disengaged; and sustaining positive destinations.
"Previous economic downturns hold a salutary lesson in the risks of allowing attention to drift from this group."
He said they were also rolling out a 16+ Learning Choices scheme across the country, with the aim of giving every young person an appropriate offer of learning and support.