Unemployment figures down, but not for women

Unemployment has fallen to 2.65 million, with 35,000 fewer people out of work since the last official unemployment figures, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Unemployment has fallen to 2.65 million, with 35,000 fewer people out of work since the last official unemployment figures, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The 0.1 per cent fall in the unemployment rate is the first since May 2011, although the number of women who have lost their jobs has risen. The figures cover the three months from December 2011 to March this year.
However, the figures for those claiming Jobseker’s Allowance in March was up by 3,600 on the previous month.
The number of people in full-time employment was 21.23 million in the three months to February 2012, down 27,000 from the three months to November 2011. Of this total, 13.57 million were men and 7.67 million were women. The number of people in part-time employment was 7.94 million in the three months to February 2012, up 80,000 from the three months to November 2011. Of this total, 2.07 million were men and 5.86 million were women.
The figures show a continuing increase in underemployment. The number of employees and self-employed people who were working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 89,000 on the quarter to reach 1.40 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992, says the ONS.
The number of unemployed men fell by 43,000 to reach 1.51 million, but the number of unemployed women increased by 8,000 to reach 1.14 million, the highest figure since the three months to November 1987.
The figures also show that the number of people unemployed for up to twelve months fell by 61,000 on the quarter to reach 1.77 million, but the number of people unemployed for over 12 months increased by 26,000 to reach 883,000, the highest figure since the three months to September 1996.
The number of people employed in the public sector was 5.94 million in December 2011, down 37,000 from September 2011. The number of people employed in the private sector in December 2011 was 23.17 million, up 45,000 from September 2011.
The number of people under 25 who are unemployed fell by 9,000 over the quarter to stand at 22.2 per cent. The number of young people who have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for over a year has risen by 5,200 since last month.
The figures also show average pay rose by just 1.1% in the past year. Excluding bonuses, pay increased by 1.6%.

Part-time recovery
Andrew Sissons,researcher at The Work Foundation, said: “The slight drop in unemployment is an encouraging sign after many months of turmoil in the labour market. However, these figures make it clear that the improvement is being driven by an increasingly part-time recovery. The economy actually shed full-time jobs over the last three months. There are now 1.4 million people in part-time work who would prefer a full-time job, which is the highest level since records began.
“There are some good signs about the underlying health of the labour market: there has been a shift away from self-employment, and there has been a recovery in hours worked, which suggests some workers may be finding more work and greater job security. However, men have seen most of the benefits from job creation, with women struggling in the last three months. The fall in youth unemployment should offer little encouragement – employment amongst young people has continued to fall, and the small fall in unemployment is down to a rise in inactivity.
“Going forward, we are unlikely to see any significant improvements in unemployment until the labour market becomes much stronger. This depends on solid economic growth, with increases in full-time work and hours worked. The outlook for both remains uncertain, and these priorities should remain top of the government’s agenda.”
John Philpott, Chief Economic Adviser at the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, said: "The rise in employment and fall in unemployment is mainly due to a sharp quarterly rise in the number of men working part-time, the vast majority doing so because unable to find full-time work. By contrast the number of women in work was broadly unchanged with female unemployment rising slightly. Indeed, these latest figures mark a change from the pattern of male and female employment growth seen throughout most of 2011 and may be the first clear sign that public sector job cuts are finally starting to have an adverse effect on women’s job prospects.
"With the number of women in work at best flat-lining, and many men and women unable to find full-time jobs, it would be unwise to get too excited by a welcome fall in unemployment. A properly recovering jobs market is not characterised by a growing army of underemployed part-timers and pay rises still falling well short of price inflation."





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