Official employment figures released this week show that the number of part-time workers has increased by 115,000 over the quarter to reach 7.84 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.
The labour market statistics published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics shows that this increase in part-time working has triggered a hike in the total numbers of people in employment. According to the ONS figures, the employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the three months to June 2010 was 70.5%, up 0.3 on the quarter and the number of people in employment aged 16 and over increased by 184,000 on the quarter to reach 29.02 million. This is the largest quarterly increase in the number of people in employment since 1989. Employment is up 104,000 on the year but is 507,000 lower than two years previously. The number of full-time workers also increased by 68,000 on the quarter to reach 21.18 million.
The jobless count has also fallen by 49,000 over the quarter to reach 2.46 million. The number of people unemployed for up to twelve months fell by 82,000, to reach 1.66 million. However, the number of people unemployed for more than twelve months increased by 33,000 over the quarter to reach 796,000, the highest figure since the three months to March 1997. Male unemployment fell by 70,000 on the quarter to reach 1.47 million, the largest quarterly fall since 2001, but female unemployment increased by 21,000 on the quarter to reach 985,000.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (the claimant count) fell by 3,800 between June and July 2010 to reach 1.46 million. The number of male claimants fell by 7,100 to reach 1.04 million, but the number of female claimants increased by 3,300 to reach 420,300. The number of people claiming for up to six months increased by 7,200 on the month to reach 903,700. This is the first monthly increase in this series since April 2009.
Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) commenting on the official figures said: "This looks like yet another set of strong and encouraging figures on the surface. However, cracks now seem to be emerging; with a considerable growth in part-time work, lower pay settlements and a slower decline in the claimant count all features of a more uncertain jobs market. As the CIPD predicted earlier this year, the strong progress that we have seen in the first half of this year is set to stall thanks to a series of headwinds that are about to hit the jobs market.”
Davies added: “The figures may also herald a gender divide in terms of job prospects, with unemployment increasing for women. This should come as no surprise since women make up a disproportionately large number of the public sector workforce."