Recession report #4: unemployment up and vacancies down
Today we have published our fourth recession report. The figures are bad – although they could have been worse. The unemployment rate is now 6.3 per cent (up 0.4 points on the previous quarter) and the number of job vacancies has fallen by 76,000 over the last three months.
As well as charting the UK’s rising unemployment rates we also consider the way that the recession is affecting particular sectors. Between March – September 2008 (the most recent data we currently have) we show that there were significant job losses for women and for men – but greater job gains for women as a result of public sector employment.
We also consider how different age groups are being affected, and find that while the over-25s made up a majority of the increase in unemployment the under-25s saw a far greater increase in the risk of losing their jobs. From Jan-Mar to Oct-Dec 2008 the unemployment rates for 16-17 year olds and 18-24 year olds increased by 4.1 percentage points and 2.3 percentages points respectively. The rates for 25-49 year olds and for the over 50s have increased, but at a lower rate (a rise of 0.8 percentage points for each group).
In the second section of the report we look at the impact of the recession for trade union membership. While we recognise that the coming months will provide challenges for trade unionists, historical evidence shows us that significant reductions in membership are not inevitable. We also recognise that now is an important time for unions to support their members and demonstrate to others the benefits that union membership can bring. We conclude that while the climate is challenging, there is plenty of potential for membership to rise in the longer-term.
As always comments on our report – and suggestions for future topics – are very welcome.