Youth employment and unemployment in the UK in the early 1990s (1991)



In the 1980s, the problem of unemployment became one of the most important, if not the most critical, issues on the political agenda. The fact that the unemployment rate was exceptionally high among young people increasingly attracted the interest of public opinion and experts and politicians.

The peculiar social characteristics of the world of youth and the inevitable consequences, both individual and collective, of the exclusion, significantly if prolonged, of a growing number of young people from the labour market cannot, indeed, leave political and economic operators indifferent.

In a debate in the House of Lords, Sir Raymond Pennock stated: “Unemployment affects English society profoundly, but it affects young people even more seriously”. (11 November 1981). Those were the years of a deep recession in the country of the first industrial revolution. The one million registered unemployed in 1975 doubled in March 1981 to over 3 million in February 1985 and then peaked at 3,120,000 in July 1986.

The 1990s began a new negative phase for the British economy with a virulent upswing in unemployment. As a result, gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 1991 was 0.50% lower than in the previous period and 2.50% lower than in the first quarter of 1990. Per capita expenditure and consumption also declined significantly.

The rise in unemployment is not generally without consequences for youth employment. Production competition due to the liberalisation of imports within the “Commun Market”, as the English prefer to call the European Community, along with the competition from cheaper imports from the newly industrialised Asian countries. Moreover, the gradual relocation of the production centres of the large multinationals from England to other countries with more competitive labour costs, for instance, increase employment competitiveness compared with the past.






Chapter 1. The 1990s and Unemployment in the United Kingdom


Chapter 2. Young people and unemployment



File Indice

Summary Document

The labour market in the UK in the 1990s at a glance

Please log in as a registered user to get access to the full version of the documents

Existing Users Log In

Social Network