Government representatives have made much of the fact that the monthly ONS figures show 30 million Britons are now in some form of employment. Though this is an all-time high, it’s still lower in percentage terms than before the downturn –as a result of a rising population.
Nevertheless, unemployment fell by 48,000 to 2.47 million, the lowest since the spring of 2011, while the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance was cut for the 12th month in a row in October, down by 41,700 to 1.31 million, the lowest for almost five years. The number of people classed as economically inactive, also fell – down by 69,000 to 8.92 million.
People continue to earn less however with average earnings increased by 0.7 per cent in the year to September, down by 0.1 per cent from the previous month. Part-time working continues to be increasingly significant. 1.46 million reporting they worked part-time because they could not find full-time work, an increase of 24,000 over the quarter.
There were 950,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds, around a third of whom were in full-time education, giving a youth jobless rate of 21 per cent. Despite a 9000 fall this figure is still higher in percentage terms than at the same time last year. For those not in full-time education, 16% remain unemployed and a further 14% economically inactive. In otherwords almost one in three of this category are not in the labour market.
The Princes Trust also recently 115 000 18-24 year olds have been unemployed for more than 24 months, an increase of 342% in the past decade (www.princes-trust.org.uk).