Today’s ONS figures show the number of people in work fell by 2,000 in the latest quarter to February, to just under 30 million –the first time the figure has dropped for well over a year. With continued increases in the size of the labour force this has resulted in a 70000 increase in unemployment. 7.9% of the active population. ONS reports the number of underemployed workers – people who are in employment but want to work more hours – has risen by 980,000 since the start of the economic downturn in 2008 to stand at 3.05 million in 2012.
There are also 62 000 less 16-24 year olds in employment compared to the previous quarter as youth unemployment edges towards 1 million again after rising by 20 000 million –a second quarterly rise. More significantly, there has been a 37000 increase amongst young people not in full-time education. Most of this increase has taken place in the 18-24 age group where almost a third continue to be full time students and where amongst those who are not; 15.6% are unemployed and a further 14.5% economically inactive.