House of Commons Library

Youth unemployment statistics

Published Tuesday, February 18, 2020

This paper presents the latest statistics on youth unemployment in the UK as well as comparisons with other EU countries.

Jump to full report >>

481,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in October-December 2019, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous quarter and a decrease of 30,000 from the year before. By historical standards, unemployment levels for young people are very low.

For context, it is worth noting that the total population aged 16-24 has been declining in recent years; in the year to October-December 2019, it decreased by 68,000. The number of young people in employment also decreased by 40,000 over the same period, while the number who are economically inactive (not in or looking for work) saw little change.

The unemployment rate (the proportion of the economically active population who are unemployed) for 16-24 year olds was 11.3% in October-December 2019. This is down from 11.9% in the previous quarter and from 11.8% a year before.


The inactivity rate for young people is 38.0%. Three quarters of young people who are economically inactive are in full-time education.

Youth Unemployment across Europe

The UK youth unemployment rate was 11.7%, compared to 14.4% for the European Union as a whole.

Commons Briefing papers SN05871

Authors: Brigid Francis-Devine; Andy Powell; Niamh Foley

Topic: Unemployment

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.