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Page last updated at 08:01 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Unemployment pain for under-25s

By Jim Reed
Newsbeat reporter

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Fabienne from Bristol was laid off as a decorator two months ago

There has been another sharp rise in the number of people out of work. Total unemployment is now running at more than 1.8 million, the highest in 11 years, as firms make more redundancies and take on less staff. But it's 18 to 24-year-old workers who are really suffering.

More than 700 young people a day signed up for job seekers allowance in November, pushing the unemployment rate in that age group up to 14.1%, its highest since Labour came to power in 1997.

According to the figures, 597,000 18 to 24-year-olds are now jobless in the UK.

The last time we saw numbers like that was back in 1995.

The rate at which young people are unemployed is rising faster than the general population
Nicola Smith from the TUC

Nicola Smith at the TUC said: "The rate at which young people are unemployed is rising faster than the general population.

"It's also taking longer to get a job in the first place so people are unemployed for longer.

"Young people are more likely to be employed on temporary contracts and, at the start of a recession, those jobs go first.

"The other key issue is the fall in vacancy rates across all sectors of employment.

"So young people who have just entered the jobs market are going to find there are fewer jobs available."

Nothing available

Twenty-three-year-old Fabienne from Bristol told Newsbeat she was laid off from her job as a painter and decorator two months ago.

She said: "They didn't have enough work on so they said they would only take me back when they could afford it.

"I've been going round to the agencies, asking friends and family but I can't find anything at the moment. It's been really hard.

Employment office
350 young people a day signed for job seekers allowance in October
"It's a bit depressing because I'm struggling to find money for food and basic living expenses.

"Anything will do at the moment just to tide me over.

"I can't afford any presents this year. Mum and Dad will just have to wait."

Young people are also being hit as big employers cut back on the number of people they are taking on.

Large companies like BT and British Airways have put in place hiring freezes to deal with a slow down in business.

That tends to hurt younger employees who are trying to get on the jobs ladder for the first time.

Carl Gilleard from the Association of Graduate Recruiters told Newsbeat: "My gut feeling tells me that we are going to face a couple of fairly lean years. I hoped to be proved wrong.

"It does mean 2009 and 2010 are going to be difficult but you shouldn't lose heart.

"You have to believe the next job you apply for is the one you'll get an interview for; and the next interview you'll get is the one where you'll be offered that job."



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