Page last updated at 08:48 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 09:48 UK

Nearly half of jobless 'under 25'

Man enters Joncentre Plus office (Photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire)
Joblessness in Blaenau Gwent is more than 8%, the study found

Nearly half of unemployed people in Wales are aged under 25, a charity's report has claimed.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is calling for urgent action to prevent the situation getting worse.

The report also revealed that Blaenau Gwent in south Wales, has the highest rate of unemployment in the UK.

The assembly government insists tackling the social impact of the recession is a priority but the report's author said more must be done.

Peter Kenway, who co co-wrote the report Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion in Wales 2009 said: "I'm not sure that the governments have particularly tried to create more jobs.

"It's been left for a generation to the market.

Mr Kenway said the challenge in Wales was to create up to 40,000 jobs and a new "much more interventionist" policy was needed

Claiming that 45% of people unemployed in Wales were under 25, the report also said poverty was rising before the recession and warns of a new jobless generation lacking "experience, qualifications and self-belief".

The study looked at unemployment and found the sharp rise in unemployment only really started in the latter half of 2008, with the average for those six months approaching 100,000 (equivalent to 6.9% of the economically active labour force), a level last seen in 1996.

If this situation persists, the risk may be of a new generation lacking the experience, qualifications and self-belief to provide for themselves and their families.
New Policy Institute report from Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Researchers found the lack of jobs caused by the recession was affecting some areas disproportionately.

Several south Wales Valley areas have the highest proportion of Jobseeker's Allowance claimants in Wales which, the report says, was not the situation before the recession.

The report's authors says because unemployment has doubled over the past 12 months in areas including Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire and Flintshire, it could be argued that the recession is having a big impact across the who of Wales.

They said it was too early to say which area of Wales would end up with the highest rate of unemployment, apart from Blaenau Gwent which had a rate of 8% rate and perhaps Merthyr Tydfil, whose rate was 6.5%.

Mr Kenway from the New Policy Institute, said: "The most significant current aspect of the recession is the high level of unemployment among young adults in Wales.

"If this situation persists, the risk may be of a new generation lacking the experience, qualifications and self-belief to provide for themselves and their families."

The report also said that as concern shifted to unemployment and its consequences, there was a risk that "in-work poverty" could be forgotten.

"If that happens, when people start to find work again as the recession ends, that work will not necessarily provide an escape from poverty," it said.

The assembly government has welcomed the report.



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