A brief comment on December’s unemployment figures

jobcentreplus_logoThough the Tories and sections of the media have celebrated the ‘record fall’ in unemployment, the figures tell a different story, particularly for young people. The ONS data shows a 75 000 fall in joblessness for 16-24 year olds; but only 13 000 more in work. This is because of a fall in the overall size of the cohort, but also increases in the number of full-time students as well as  those now ‘economically inactive’ –up  by 45 000 compared with the previous quarter . There are also increases in the percentage of 16-24 year olds out of work for more than 12 months

Even though the number of part-time workers fell by 4000 during the last quarter, the ONS data provides an indication of how the downturn has intensified longer term changes in the labour market, showing how many new jobs created since the recession have been  only part-time. Since 0ct 2007, for example, the number of full-time employees has fallen by 421 000 and part-timers have increased by 709,000. Despite a fall of 82 000 this quarter, there are still 879 000 more unemployed.

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