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Statistical bulletin: Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), August 2015 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 20 August 2015 Download PDF

Main points for April to June 2015

  • There were 922,000 young people (aged from 16 to 24) in the UK who were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), a decrease of 21,000 from January to March 2015 and down 44,000 from a year earlier.
  • The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET was 12.7%, down 0.3 percentage points from January to March 2015 and down 0.5 percentage points from a year earlier.
  • Just under half (47%) of all young people in the UK who were NEET were looking for work and available for work and therefore classified as unemployed. The remainder were either not looking for work and/or not available for work and therefore classified as economically inactive.

In this bulletin

This statistical bulletin contains estimates for Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in the UK. An article providing background information (88.7 Kb Pdf) is available on our website. The bulletin is published 4 times a year in February, May, August and November. All estimates discussed in this statistical bulletin are for the United Kingdom and are seasonally adjusted. The figures discussed in this statistical bulletin are obtained from the Labour Force Survey (a survey of households) and are therefore estimates, not precise figures.

This statistical bulletin is accompanied by a data table in Excel spreadsheet format (409 Kb Excel sheet) .

Definition of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)

Young people

For this release, young people are defined as those aged 16 to 24. Estimates are also produced for the age groups 16 to 17 and 18 to 24 and broken down by sex.

Education and training

A person is considered to be in education or training if any of the following apply:

  • they are enrolled on an education course and are still attending or waiting for term to (re)start

  • they are doing an apprenticeship

  • they are on a government supported employment or training programme

  • they are working or studying towards a qualification, or

  • they have had job-related training or education in the last 4 weeks

Employment

“In employment” includes all people in some form of paid work, including those working part-time. People not in employment are classed as either unemployed or economically inactive. Unemployed people are those who have been looking for work in the past 4 weeks and who are available to start work within the next 2 weeks. Economically inactive people are those who have not been looking for work and/or who are not available to start work. Examples of economically inactive people include those not looking for work because they are students and those who are looking after dependants at home. These definitions are based on those recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

NEET

Anybody who is not in any of the forms of education or training listed above and who is not in employment, is considered to be NEET. Consequently, a person identified as NEET will always be either unemployed or economically inactive.

Relationship to other labour market statistics for young people

Our monthly labour market statistical bulletin includes the Reference Table A06SA (1.02 Mb Excel sheet) “Educational status, economic activity and inactivity of young people”. The NEET statistics and the Table A06SA statistics are both derived from the Labour Force Survey and use the same labour market statuses; however the educational statuses are derived differently. For Table A06SA the educational status is based on participation in full-time education only. For NEET statistics the educational status is based on any form of education or training, as listed previously. Therefore, the Table A06SA category “not in full-time education” includes some people who are in part-time education and/or some form of training and who, consequently, should not be regarded as NEET.

Total young people who were NEET

For April to June 2015, there were 922,000 young people (aged from 16 to 24) who were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), down 21,000 from January to March 2015 and down 44,000 from a year earlier. For April to June 2015, 12.7% of all people aged from 16 to 24 were NEET, down 0.3 percentage points from January to March 2015 and down 0.5 percentage points from a year earlier. Figure 1 shows the percentage of people aged from 16 to 24 who were NEET over the last 5 years.

Figure 1: People aged from 16 to 24 Not in Education, Employment or Training as a percentage of all people aged from 16 to 24, seasonally adjusted

United Kingdom, April to June 2010 to April to June 2015

Figure 1: People aged from 16 to 24 Not in Education, Employment or Training as a percentage of all people aged from 16 to 24, seasonally adjusted
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

Download chart

For April to June 2015, there were 51,000 people aged from 16 to 17 who were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), down 3,000 from January to March 2015 and down 9,000 from a year earlier. There were 871,000 people aged from 18 to 24 who were NEET, down 19,000 from January to March 2015 and down 35,000 from a year earlier.

Unemployed young people who were NEET

Unemployment measures people without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks. For April to June 2015, there were 431,000 unemployed young people (aged from 16 to 24) who were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), down 1,000 from January to March 2015 and down 31,000 from a year earlier. For April to June 2015:

  • there were 263,000 unemployed men aged from 16 to 24 who were NEET

  • there were 168,000 unemployed women aged from 16 to 24 who were NEET

Economically inactive young people who were NEET

Economic inactivity measures people not in employment who have not been seeking work within the last 4 weeks and/or are unable to start work within the next 2 weeks. For April to June 2015, there were 490,000 economically inactive young people (aged from 16 to 24) who were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), down 20,000 from January to March 2015 and down 13,000 from a year earlier. For April to June 2015: 

  • there were 161,000 economically inactive men aged from 16 to 24 who were NEET

  • there were 329,000 economically inactive women aged from 16 to 24 who were NEET

Quality information

Quality Information (227.1 Kb Pdf) for the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is available on our website.

Further information about the LFS is available from:

Accuracy of the statistics: estimating and reporting uncertainty

The figures in this statistical bulletin come from the Labour Force Survey, a survey of UK households. Surveys gather information from a sample rather than from the whole population. The sample is designed carefully to allow for this, and to be as accurate as possible given practical limitations like time and cost constraints, but results from sample surveys are always estimates, not precise figures. This means that they are subject to some uncertainty. This can have an impact on how changes in the estimates should be interpreted, especially for short-term comparisons. We can calculate the level of uncertainty (also called “sampling variability”) around a survey estimate by exploring how that estimate would change if we were to draw many survey samples for the same time period instead of just one. This allows us to define a range around the estimate (known as a “confidence interval”) and to state how likely it is in practice that the real value that the survey is trying to measure lies within that range. Confidence intervals are typically set up so that we can be 95% sure that the true value lies within the range – in which case we refer to a “95% confidence interval”.

For example, the total number of people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) aged 16 to 24 for October to December 2014 was estimated to be 963,000. This figure had a stated 95% confidence interval of +/- 52,000. This means that we can be 95% certain that the true total number of people NEET aged 16 to 24 for October to December 2014 was between 911,000 and 1.015 million. However, the best estimate from the survey was that the total number of people NEET aged 16 to 24 was 963,000. The percentage of people NEET aged 16 to 24 for the same period was estimated at 13.2%, with a stated 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.7%. This means that we can be 95% sure that the percentage of people NEET was between 12.5% and 13.9%. Again, the best estimate from the survey was that the percentage of people NEET aged 16 to 24 was 13.2%.  

Working with uncertain estimates

In general, changes in the numbers (and especially the rates) reported in this statistical bulletin between 3 month periods are small, and are not usually greater than the level that is explainable by sampling variability. In practice, this means that small, short-term movements in reported rates (for example within +/- 0.3 percentage points) should be treated as indicative, and considered alongside medium and long-term patterns in the series and corresponding movements in administrative sources, where available, to give a fuller picture.

Seasonal adjustment and uncertainty

Like many economic indicators, the labour market is affected by factors that tend to occur at around the same time every year; for example school leavers entering the labour market in July and whether Easter falls in March or April. In order to compare movements other than annual changes in labour market statistics, such as since the previous quarter or since the previous month, the data are seasonally adjusted to remove the effects of seasonal factors and the arrangement of the calendar. Estimates discussed in this statistical bulletin are presented seasonally adjusted. While seasonal adjustment is essential to allow for robust comparisons through time, it is not possible to estimate uncertainty measures for the seasonally adjusted series.

Table NEET 2 (27.5 Kb Excel sheet) shows sampling variabilities for estimates of Young People who are NEET derived from the Labour Force Survey.

Background notes

  1. Further statistics on young people in the labour market for the UK were published on 12 August 2015 within the main Labour Market Statistics release and are available at Reference Table A06 SA (1.02 Mb Excel sheet) . Information on availability of subnational estimates of Young People who are NEET is available in an article published on our website (88.7 Kb Pdf) .

  2. The next bulletin will be published on 19 November 2015. A list of the job titles of those given pre-publication access to the contents of this statistical bulletin is available on the website.

  3. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Nick Palmer +44 (0)1633 455839 Labour Market Division nicholas.palmer@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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