A study of jobseeker's allowance figures has revealed a sizeable jump in claimants aged between 18 and 24, prompting fears of a 'lost generation.'
Official data by charity Barnado's found that claimants in this age group jumped from 40,000 to 48,000 between last November and February.
This, the charity claims, represents a 'ticking time bomb' of a 'lost generation,' with members of this age group making up 30 percent of all jobseekers across all regions.
Barnardo's chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: 'Today's bleak statistics confirm what we already suspected - that high numbers of young people in areas like London and the North East are severely affected by worklessness and poverty which continue to dominate life chances.
'Barnardo's works with the most vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds and we know that they are struggling to get access to alternatives to mainstream education, apprenticeships or training, all vital to equip them with the skills and confidence to enter the toughest labour market since the 1980s.
'We risk losing an entire generation to long-term cycles of unemployment and a stagnant society if concerted action by Government, local authorities and employers to tackle lack of jobs in the worst hit areas is not taken.'