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NEET: Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training

Published Thursday, August 24, 2017

790,000 people aged 16-24 were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in the second quarter of 2017, 11.1% of all people in this age group.

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790,000 people aged 16-24 were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in the second quarter of 2017, 11.1% of all people in this age group. This was down 10,000 on the previous quarter and down 56,000 from the second quarter of 2016.

NEET trends

The proportion of 16-24 year olds who were NEET remained relatively steady between 2002 and 2008, and at the beginning of 2008 13.4% were NEET. The proportion increased following the 2008 recession and peaked in July-September 2011 when 16.9% of 16-24 year olds were NEET (1.25 million people). Since then the number of people who are NEET has been falling.

NEET unemployment and inactivity

A common misconception is that someone cannot be NEET unless they are unemployed.

This is not the case. Only 41% of the 790,000 young people who were NEET in the second quarter of 2017 were unemployed (325,000). The remaining 59% were economically inactive, which means they were not working, not seeking work and/or not available to start work.

Likewise, not all unemployed people will be NEET.

60% of the 562,000 unemployed 16-24 year-olds in April-June 2017 were not in education or training and were therefore NEET. The remaining 40% were in some form of education or training.

Gender

Women who are NEET are more likely to be economically inactive than men. In the second quarter of 2017, 69% of the women who were NEET were economically inactive. This compares to 49% of the men.

Historically more women than men have been NEET. Over the last year the number of men and women aged 16-24 who were NEET have been at similar levels, and in the last quarter of 2016 slightly more men were NEET than women for the first time since comparable records began. The gap between the number of men and women who were NEET has narrowed over recent years.

The main reason why there has been a fall for women is a significant decrease in the number of women who are inactive because they are looking after their family or their home.

The number of men who are inactive has been rising over the last couple of years mainly due to a large increase in the number of men who were either long term sick or disabled.

NEET by Region

Of the regions within England, in the second quarter of 2017 Yorkshire and Humberside had the highest proportion of young people who were NEET (14.7%) and London had the lowest (9.0%).

International NEET Statistics

The proportion of 15-19 year-olds who are NEET in the UK is above the OECD average, but the UK proportion is below the OECD average for 20-24 year olds.

Commons Briefing papers SN06705

Author: Andy Powell

Topics: Economic situation, Unemployment

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