Guest Blogpost from Richard Lynch: Another bad year for jobs?

Unemployment
Unemployment (Photo credit: born1945)

2011 was a bad year for unemployment and underemployment and, if the latest Labour Market Statistics are any guide, 2012 looks like being at least as bad. These statistics, which mainly cover the three months to end January 2012, show that:

Unemployment was 2.67 million, up 28,000 over the quarter and 148,000 over the past year. The unemployment rate was 8.4% of the economically active population, up 0.1% on the quarter and at a level which was last exceeded in October 1995 (when John Major was Prime Minister).

Unemployment amongst JSA claimants was 1.61 million in February, up 7,200 on the previous month and 162,000 on the previous year. This left the claimant rate at 5%, unchanged from January but up 0.5% on the previous year.

Youth unemployment was 1.04 million, up 16,000 over the three months to end January and equivalent to 22.5% of economically active 16-24 year olds. However, separate figures showed that the unemployment rate for black youth has been rising at almost twice that for white youth and that unemployment amongst young black men has risen from 28.8% to 55.9% in the past three years.

Underemployment also increased with the number of people working part-time because they couldn’t find full-time jobs up 110,000 to 1.3 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.

On the slightly less negative side, there was a fall in long-term unemployment – by 12,000 in the number of those unemployed for over a year and by 25,000 in those unemployed for over two years. However this still left 855,000 in the former category and 405,000 in the latter. There was also a fall in the economically inactive rate for 16-64 year olds not working but not included in the unemployment figures. Numbers in this group fell by 27,000 to 9.3 million, giving an inactivity rate of 23.1%. However, the fall was largely due to the effects of a government campaign which contributed to cutting the number of people in the long-term sick category by 67,000 to 2.09 million. In addition to this, the number of job vacancies increased by 15,000 to 473,000 but this still left an average of 5.6 unemployed people chasing every vacancy.

Unfortunately these crumbs of good news appear unlikely to presage a downturn in unemployment, as the economy is still flat-lining, consumer spending and business investment are at historically low levels, companies are still going bust and the recent budget did little to change the situation. The public sector, which cut 270,000 jobs last year, is also continuing to make cutbacks and recent Office for Budget Responsibility projections indicate that a total of 700,000 jobs will have gone by 2015 and 880,000 by 2017. There is also likely to be a post-Olympics jobs cull in certain sectors, including in Balfour Beatty where an estimated 1,500 jobs are believed to be at risk.

Richard Lynch is a Dudden Hill resident. He is a retired Unite the Union official and currently conducts voluntary work on employment rights for the Brent Community Law Centre. He also acts as an accompanying representative for the GMB union.

Guest Blogpost from Richard Lynch: Unemployment figures are still dreadful

The latest Labour Market Statistics, which mainly cover the three month period to end December 2011, provide more bad news on jobs and suggest that there is worse to come.

Overall unemployment increased by 48,000 to 2.67 million over the quarter, giving an unemployment rate of 8.4%. The figure for the number unemployed was 179,000 higher than a year earlier and included 860,000 who have been out of work for over 12 months. The number unemployed for two years or more was 423,000 over the same period.

Male unemployment increased by 16,000 to 1.55 million and female unemployment increased by 32,000 to 1.23 million. Youth unemployment increased by 22,000 to 1.04 million, giving an unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds of 22.2%.

unemployment
unemployment (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The number of people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 83,000 to 1.35 million over the quarter, the highest figure since comparable records began 20 years ago.

The number of ‘economically inactive’ people fell by 78,000 to 9.29 million, giving an economic inactivity rate of 23.1%. (Economically inactive people are 16-64 year olds who are not working but who are not included in the unemployment figures because they had not been looking for work over the previous four weeks and were not available to start work within the following two weeks. They include the long-term sick, home makers, early retirees and those who have simply given up trying to find work.)

The number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants increased by 6,900 in January 2012 to 1.6 million, giving a claimant count of 5%.

The number of job vacancies increased by 11,000 to 476,000 in the three months to October 2011, but this still left an average of over 5.6 unemployment people chasing every vacancy.

According to the Financial Times, most economists expect unemployment to rise further over the coming months, with many predicting a peak of 2.8 or 2.9 million.

Richard Lynch is a Dudden Hill resident. He is a retired Unite the Union official and currently conducts voluntary work on employment rights for the Brent Community Law Centre. He also acts as an accompanying representative for the GMB union.

Guest Blogpost from Richard Lynch: Job destruction shows no sign of easing

Unemployment is now higher than it was at the worst point of the recession and odds are shortening that it will match Thatcher’s three million in the next year. The latest figures, from the January Labour Market Statistics, are for the three months to the end of November 2011 and show the following:

 

Overall unemployment increased by 118,000 (1,300 a day) to 2.68 million, giving an unemployment rate of 8.4% – the highest since John Major was Prime Minister 17 years ago.

The number unemployed for over a year was 857,000 and the number unemployed for over two years was 424,000.

 

Youth unemployment continued to rise, with an increase of 52,000 to 1.04 million, making the unemployed rate for 16-24 year olds 22.3%.

 

The number of unemployed people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance rose, although by a more modest 1,200, to 1.6 million, giving a claimant count of 5%.

 

The inactivity rate (16-64 year olds who are not working but are not included in the unemployment figures) fell slightly to 23.1% but that still leaves 9.29 million people, including home makers, long term sick, early retirees and those who have simply given up trying to find work, in this category.

 

The number of people in part time employment rose to 7.86 million, and the number working part–time because they couldn’t find a full-time job rose to 1.31 million, the highest figure for 17 years.

The number of self-employed people also rose, to a record 4.14 million, as more people are forced to go self-employed after failing to find a job or because employers are increasingly changing employees’ contracts to self-employed, so they can get out of paying the minimum wage, statutory holidays, sick pay and NI contributions.

The word “rose” features a lot in this article but there’s nothing rosy about the picture it paints on unemployment and under-employment in Britain today. And all the signs are that things are going to get a lot worse.

Richard Lynch is a Dudden Hill resident. He is a retired Unite the Union official and currently conducts voluntary work on employment rights for the Brent Community Law Centre. He also acts as an accompanying representative for the GMB union.

GUEST BLOG POST FROM RICHARD LYNCH ON UNEMPLOYMENT

Unemployment goes from bad to worse

Unemployment in Britain is now at its worst for 17 years, youth unemployment is at its highest since records began and 10% of Londoners are out of work. These are just some of the unacceptable features of the October Labour Market Statistics and all the indications are that things are going to get worse rather than better over the coming period.

The statistics show that:

  • Overall unemployment increased by 114,000 to 2.57 million (8.1% of the economically active population) in the three months to end August. This is the highest unemployment Britain has seen since October 1994, when the last Tory government was in power.
  • Unemployment amongst Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants increased (for the seventh month in a row) by 17,500 to 1.6 million, giving a claimant count of 5%.
  • Unemployment amongst 16-24 year olds increased by 74,000 to 991,000, giving a youth unemployment rate of 21.3% – the highest figures since comparable records began in 1992.

Other groups who were also badly hit included workers aged 65 and over whose numbers fell by 74,000, the biggest fall in workers of that age group since records began in 1992. (This was largely due to employers pushing out older workers before the October abolition of the 65 default retirement age.) Public sector workers were also hard hit, with employment in that sector falling by 111,000 to 6.04 million. Part-time workers were hard hit as well, with the number of such workers falling by 175,000 to 7.7million.

In addition to this, the number of economically inactive people (not included in the unemployment figures) increased by 26,000 to 9.35 million, giving an inactivity rate of 23.3%. These figures, which this newsletter has not highlighted before, include 2.32 million looking after homes and families, 2.28 million students, 2.16 million long-term sick, 1.57 million retired people below the age of 65 and others who are temporarily sick or who have simply given up trying to find work.

The number of job vacancies in the economy increased by 1,000 to 462,000 but this still leaves an average of 5.56 unemployed people chasing every job.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, by no means a left-wing or anti-business organisation, described the latest figures as ‘truly horrific’ and pointed out that one in three unemployed people have now been out of work for over a year. It also pointed out the damage being done to the economy by the destruction of almost a quarter of a million public sector jobs in the coalition’s first year in office. The Institute made what was for them a remarkably radical (and sensible) call for the coalition to temporarily halt further public sector job cuts, which they described as an ‘own goal’ at a time of high and rising unemployment and economic stagnation.

Richard Lynch is a Dudden Hill resident. He is a retired Unite the Union official and currently conducts voluntary work on employment rights for the Brent Community Law Centre. He also acts as an accompanying representative for the GMB union.

Future Jobs Fund Cuts is a false economy

Unemployed people in front of a workhouse in L...
WikiImage

Fellow young people are telling me all the time that it’s hard for them to enter the labour market.

Many have worked so hard to gain qualifications but are then denied the opportunity to practise what they have spent years training for.

The Future Jobs Fund, introduced by the last Government encouraged firms to give young people opportunities and gave them the opportunity to gain practical working experience.

It gave recruitment subsidies which helped people unemployed for six months or more into work. Recent employment figures have indicated that it was an initiative that was working. However, the Coalition Government’s decision to thoughtlessly slash the Fund is another blow for young people.