Youth unemployment

Data on the percentage of 16 to 24 year olds who were unemployed in the UK from 2014 to 2021.

  1. Summary main findings
  2. By year
  3. By area
  4. About the data
  5. Download the data

Summary main findings

The youth unemployment rate was 13% in 2021, having gone up to nearly 16% in 2020.

By year

Visualisation for by year

Percentage of 16 to 24 year olds who were unemployed (UK, 2014 to 2021)

Data for by year

Percentage of 16 to 24 year olds who were unemployed (UK, 2014 to 2021)
Year Percentage (%)
2021 13.1
2020 15.9
2019 13.1
2018 12.3
2017 13.2
2016 14.3
2015 15.3
2014 17.5

Download for by year

For the full download file, see Download the data.

By area

Visualisation for by area

Percentage of 16 to 24 year olds who were unemployed, by region (UK, 2018 to 2021 combined)

41 regions in the UK are ranked from the lowest to highest percentages. They are then divided into 5 equally-sized groups (‘quintiles’), from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).

The regional estimates have a large margin of error – do not rank or compare specific regions.

The lines either side of the dots represent confidence intervals – the range of values that the 'true' value for each region is highly likely to be within. In many cases the confidence intervals overlap. This suggests differences between specific regions may not be statistically significant.

See the composite indices for more precise estimates and to understand overall regional patterns.

Q1 - Lowest 20%
Q5 - Highest 20%

Data for by area

Percentage of 16 to 24 year olds who were unemployed, by region (UK, 2018 to 2021 combined)
Region Percentage (%)
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire 12.4
Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire 11.8
Cheshire 10.8
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 12.6
Cumbria 10.9
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire 16.0
Devon 12.2
Dorset and Somerset 11.7
East Anglia 13.8
East Wales 14.3
East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire 18.5
Eastern Scotland 12.2
Essex 10.7
Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bath/Bristol area 10.5
Greater Manchester 18.9
Hampshire and Isle of Wight 12.7
Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire 10.9
Highlands and Islands 4.2
Inner London - East 24.5
Inner London - West 24.3
Kent 14.9
Lancashire 11.7
Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire 15.7
Lincolnshire 13.5
Merseyside 11.5
North Eastern Scotland 13.1
North Yorkshire 10.4
Northern Ireland 9.5
Northumberland and Tyne and Wear 15.7
Outer London - East and North East 18.2
Outer London - South 23.0
Outer London - West and North West 21.7
Shropshire and Staffordshire 13.3
South Yorkshire 12.8
Southern Scotland 15.0
Surrey, East and West Sussex 11.5
Tees Valley and Durham 15.8
West Central Scotland 10.6
West Midlands 17.4
West Wales and The Valleys 12.6
West Yorkshire 15.7

About the data

Data source

Office for National Statistics, Labour Force Survey (LFS)

Time period

2014 to 2021

Geographic area


What the data measures

The data shows unemployment rates for 16 to 24 year olds in the UK.

Unemployment is measured as the percentage of economically active 16 to 24 year olds who are currently out of work but looking for a job.

Rates are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Things you need to know

The data does not include people who are economically inactive because they are either:

  • in full-time education
  • looking after the home
  • permanently sick or disabled

Data is weighted using LFS probability weights.

The error bars show 95% confidence intervals. These intervals show where we expect the true value from a population to be 95% of the time. For example, a confidence interval with the range of values from 5 to 10 implies that there is a 95% chance that the true population value is between 5 and 10, and a 5% chance that it is outside of this range. The narrower the confidence interval or range, the more precise the estimate. Read more about confidence intervals

Type of data

Survey data, weighted

Full report

Read more in State of the Nation 2023 on GOV.UK.

Download the data

Download full dataset (CSV, 7KB)

This file contains the following variables:

  • Indicator code
  • Indicator name
  • Area type
  • Area code
  • Area name
  • Time period
  • Socio-economic background
  • Sex
  • Value
  • Sample size
  • Lower confidence interval
  • Upper confidence interval
  • Standard error
  • Unit