The number of young people who were not in education, employment or training (Neet) fell in the second quarter, in the latest positive news for the labour market.
There were 955,000 Neets aged 16-to-24 in the UK in the period between April and June according to the Office for National Statistics, down by 20,000 compared with January and March, and 138,000 lower than a year earlier.
The percentage of all young people who were in the Neet bracket was 13.3% in the second quarter, down 0.3 points from the first quarter and 1.8 points lower than the same period in 2013.
It is a boost for a demographic group that was one of the hardest hit by the rise in unemployment during the financial crisis.
The jobless rate among 16-24 year olds is currently 16.9%, compared with 6.4% for the UK overall.
The ONS said: “Just under half (48%) 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.”
A breakdown of the data showed the picture was not as rosy among 16 and 17 year olds, with the number of Neets in this age bracket rising by 5,000 over the quarter to 59,000. The number of Neets among 18-to 24-year-olds on the other hand fell by 26,000 to 896,000.
Unemployment has fallen much more sharply than expected in recent months, taking the Bank of England by surprise. However, wage growth has yet to pick up meaningfully, lagging inflation for the majority of the last six years.