Underemployed workers ‘not represented in jobless statistics’

Unemployment figures to be released this week are likely to significantly underrepresent the number of workers affected by the recession since they don’t take into account  underemployed and other workers, says the TUC.

Unemployment figures to be released this week are likely to significantly underrepresent the number of workers affected by the recession since they don’t take into account  underemployed and other workers, says the TUC.

It says if these people were taken into account, including those who are working part time because there are no available full-time jobs – the unemployment figures in the UK  would be 6.3 million, higher than any point since the early 1990s.

The UK has two common measures of joblessness – ILO unemployment (currently 2.68 million) and the claimant count (1.6 million) – but the TUC says the US uses six measures of joblessness that incorporate long-term unemployment, recent job losses, redundancies and underemployment.

Using official UK government data, the TUC has replicated the six measures of US unemployment to come up with the figure of over 6.3 million.

The TUC says underemployment – people working part-time because they can’t find full time jobs – is higher today (1.3 million) than at any point since April 1993, when it stood at 802,000.

It adds that the number of economically inactive or discouraged people who want work in the UK is broadly the same today (2.34 million) as it was in April 1993 (2.35 million) having peaked at 2.59 million in December 1996.

The analysis also shows that underemployment – people doing temporary or part-time jobs because they can’t find permanent or full-time work – has risen to a record 1.9 million.

The TUC says that while involuntary part-time and temporary jobs are better than no work at all in most cases, these tend to be low-paid, insecure, have little or no career prospects and so not a sustainable way to solve the UK’s labour market problems.

The TUC is calling on the Government to acknowledge the scale of the jobs crisis and to take action to get vital investment into the private sector so that it starts creating jobs, stem public sector job losses and boost job schemes to get younger people back into work.

The TUC believes that without government stimulus, growth will continue to falter which will cause long-term damage to the UK economy.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber says: ‘The headline unemployment figures are bad enough, but the true scale of joblessness is even worse. Over six million people are either out of work or under-employed. Tackling this crisis should be the government’s number one priority.

‘Our jobs crisis is not confined to those out of work. Nearly two million people are being forced to take low-paid, insecure, short hours jobs because of the lack of proper full-time employment. This means people are taking home much less pay, which is putting a real strain of family budgets.

‘When ministers say there are plenty of jobs out there, they are ignoring the sheer numbers of people looking for work, as well as the suitability and location of the jobs available.

‘Rather than seek to blame unemployed people for being out of work, the Government should start helping them by putting proper resources into employment schemes.

‘Unless we get people back into decent jobs and wages growing in line with prices again we will not secure a sustainable economic recovery nor get the deficit down.’





Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *