Unemployment down and part-time jobs at record high

The number of people in part-time jobs has risen to a record high of 8.07 million, according to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics for the period April to June 2012.

The figures show unemployment is down 0.2 per cent on the previous three months, but was up 51,000 on the same period last year. Women’s employment rose to 65.8 per cent, up 0.3 on the previous three months.

The number of long-term unemployed remained at around 882,000, little changed on the previous three-month period. Many of the new jobs were full-time ones – the number of full-time workers increased by 130,000. The number of self-employed people increased by 39,000 on the previous three months to reach 4.20 million. The number of unpaid family workers (people who work in a family business who do not receive a formal wage or salary but benefit from the profits of that business) increased by 12,000 to reach 109,000.

In July 2012 there were 1.59 million people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). This was down 5,900 compared with June. The number of men claiming JSA fell by 7,500 between June and July to reach 1.06 million and the number of women claiming JSA increased by 1,600 between June and July to reach 530,600, possibly linked to benefits changes for single parents.

Pay was up 1.6 per cent in the three months to June and the annual growth rate for pay was 1.8 per cent, little changed from the previous three months.

Jim Hillage, Director of Research at the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “The Olympics appear to have cast a golden glow on the labour market, but it is not clear whether this will flow through the economy as a whole.

“With 200,000 more people in work than a year ago, UK employment levels are returning to pre-recession levels and the labour market continues to outshine the rest of the economy. We have now had a steady few months of positive news on the jobs front, which runs counter to the negative stories on the economy as a whole.

“The impact of the Olympic halo can be seen by the fact that nearly half of the increase in employment has been in London and in the retail, transport and hospitality sectors. London accounts for nearly all the fall in unemployment.

“While this is undoubtedly good news, the latest labour markets statistics do raise questions about why they seem so out of kilter with other recent economic data. Some indications as to why can be seen in the latest statistics:

– Wages are still rising well below prices, so real incomes are falling
– Productivity is also falling, particularly in the service sector.
– So while more people are employed they are producing less per head and for less money.

“It is therefore not clear whether these data herald better economic news to come and whether the Olympics can offer a lasting economic legacy.”





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