The number of women claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance increased by 8,000 in June to reach 530,700, the higher figure since August 1995, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This was higher than the actual increase in JSA claimants for the month, which rose by 6,100.
The ONS says this increase in the number of women claiming JSA between May and June is likely to have been affected by a change in the eligibility rules for Lone Parent Income Support (LPIS) which has resulted in fewer lone parents being able to claim LPIS. Since May, Income Support for single parents whose youngest child is aged five or over have had their Income Support switched to JSA and have had to look for work.
The statistics show the number of people who are unemployed fell by 0.2 per cent in the three months to May, although the figures were up 132,000 on those released this time last year.
The number of long-term unemployed [people who have been out of work for more than two years] has increased by 18,000 over the quarter to reach 441,000, the highest figure since the three months to July 1997.
Full-time jobs increased by 133,000 to reach 21.37 million and the number of part-time workers increased by 48,000 to reach 7.99 million.
The ONS figures show the annual growth rate for total pay was 1.5 per cent in the three months to May and 1.8 per cent for regular pay.
Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: “The labour market continues to defy the laws of economic gravity, with employment up and unemployment down, despite stalling growth forecasts and stuttering confidence. The downside is that, for now, we have a seemingly entrenched pattern of falling productivity and subdued pay affecting the competitiveness of employers and the living standards of employees. The employment picture is encouraging, but the missing ingredient is economic growth – without which the risk remains that another shock of any kind may send our surprisingly resilient labour market into reverse.
“The most positive aspect about today’s figures is that, while part-time employment continues to rise, the bulk of the growth in employment is full-time. The most worrying aspect of today’s figures is the rise in long-term unemployment. This puts the spotlight on the Government’s Work Programme, which is tasked with getting the most disadvantaged in the labour market into sustainable employment.”