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East of England: Youngsters not in education, work or training (Neets) falls to pre-recession low

PUBLISHED: 17:57 22 May 2014 | UPDATED: 21:54 22 May 2014

At its peak, the number of young people in the region classed as Neet was 121,000 in the third quarter of 2011.

At its peak, the number of young people in the region classed as Neet was 121,000 in the third quarter of 2011.

The number of young people not in education, work or training (Neets) in the region has fallen to a pre-recession low, new research has found.

In a fresh boost to the east of England’s economic outlook, there were 79,000 16 to 24-year-olds considered Neet in the first quarter of 2014, the lowest figure since 74,000 in the second quarter of 2008, the Office for National Statistics said.

In the first quarter of 2013, it was 88,000.

At its peak, the number of young people in the region classed as Neet was 121,000 in the third quarter of 2011.

Nationally, the percentage of teenagers in Neet is at its lowest since records began.

The news comes after it emerged last week that total unemployment in Suffolk fell by almost a third in a year. The number of people claiming out-of-work benefits in the county reached pre-recession levels when falling to 8,592 in April, a 32.3% drop from 12,607 in April last year and the lowest since 8,486 in October 2008.

West Suffolk MP and Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said young people are benefiting from the government’s economic plan.

“Progress is being made to ensure that all young people are equipped with the skills that allow them to begin productive and prosperous careers,” he said.

“Every young person should be given the chance to reach their potential, whether that is through studying or training, embarking on an apprenticeship or traineeship or entering the world of work.

“More and more young people that were previously held back from reaching their full potential are now in work or developing skills that will allow them to become valued employees.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We are delighted that more young people are finding their way into varied employment, work-based learning, training and a wide range of post-school activity.

“While this is positive news we are not complacent and while there are still young people not in education employment and training it will continue to be a high priority for us to find ways to support them.”

Lizzie Crowley, head of youth unemployment programmes at The Work Foundation, welcomed the news but warned many young people are “underemployed”.

“For those that do become Neet many remain so for more than a year, which can have profoundly damaging consequences for their future earnings potential, and increased likelihood of further spells of unemployment,” she said.

“Moreover, an increasing proportion of those that do manage to move in to work are finding themselves underemployed – wanting to work more hours or wanting full time work – in unskilled, low wage jobs with little chance of progression.”

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