The headlines about the current period of economic stagnation in which we find ourself are often concerned with facts, figures and statistics.
There’s an example on our business page today, where we report the latest economic survey about firms in this area and whether they are counted as ‘in distress’, whether they have had to make redundancies and so on.
This is important, and helps us to make sense of where the country and our region is headed and how it is faring.
But there is also a more subtle, more pernicious result of the prolonged recession and barely-perceptible recovery which is at the forefront of people’s minds less often, and that is the long-term effect on young people.
The last few years has been hard enough for those in work, as the threat of redundancy strikes fear through workforces and pay freezes mean that those lucky enough to still be in employment find that in real terms the cost of living is getting higher and higher.
But imagine what it is like for those trying to embark on a lifetime of work and find a career.
There is the stress of knowing that there may be no jobs around for you, as many others with experience are also desperate to get into employment.
You have constant reminders that the situation may not be about to improve any time soon, and that any jobs available may only be low-skilled and low-paid.
And that is why the work of counselling groups such as Off The Record is so important – and so necessary.
As the charity tells us today, it is seeing 47 new clients every week, and a significant number of these people are depressed because they see no hope for the future and no prospects for themselves.
We applaud Off The Record’s work, not just on behalf of the clients themselves, but because they are carrying out a vital service in stopping young people from becoming permanently disaffected with society, and all the attendant problems that can bring.
They are showing young people that there can be hope – and that is about as important a job as can be done at the moment.