From the TUC

Recession Report #16: a better than expected labour market, but underemployment continues to rise

10 Mar 2010, by in Economic Reports, Economics, Equality, Labour market

Today we’ve published our 16th and final Recession Report. From next month we will be moving to a shorter monthly Labour Market Report and a bi-monthly Economic Report. The latest labour market figures cover the
period October to December 2009, and show that 2,457,000 people were unemployed by the ILO measure − down 1,000 (effectively unchanged) compared with last month’s release, which covered September – November. Youth unemployment fell a little, with 725,000 18 – 24 year olds unemployed – 3,000 fewer than last month. Overall, these are quite good results – especially the fall in youth unemployment – but it is far too early to say we no longer need to worry about employment.

The continuing rising trend for involuntary part-time and temporary work is a sign of serious weakness. 34.6% of all temporary workers wanted a permanent job and there are currently 591,000 women and 450,000 male involuntary parttime workers. And growth in long-term unemployment is also a real cause for concern – while unemployment of up to 6 months looks as if it may be starting to level off, unemployment of over 12 months is continuing to rise.

In the second section of the report we review the impact that the downturn has had for women. The analysis shows that recent decades have seen enormous change for women at work. Larger proportions of women
than ever before are in employment and the number of women describing themselves as economically inactive as a result of looking after a home or family has been consistently declining – a trend that, in contrast to previous downturns, has continued during the recession. However, over 1.2 million women who are economically inactive say they would like a job – a figure that is likely to reflect factors including unmet demand for more flexible working opportunities and for quality affordable childcare.

The downturn has had a variety of impacts for working women. More men than women have lost their jobs during the recession, and the rate of male unemployment has increased faster than the female rate. However, in many sectors (including finance and business services and hotels, restaurants and distribution and manufacturing) men and women have seen similar proportional falls in jobs. The key reason that fewer women have so far been made unemployed is therefore not that their jobs are intrinsically safer, but that more (around 40% of female employees nationally) work in public sector occupations where large scale redundancies have not taken place. Should large scale public sector cuts take place, particularly in areas that already have high male unemployment, large numbers of working families therefore could face significant financial hardship.

Download the full Recession Report here.

3 Responses to Recession Report #16: a better than expected labour market, but underemployment continues to rise

  1. Recession Report No. 16 « Connected Research
    Mar 11th 2010, 2:01 pm

    […] » The TUC’s last Recession Report was published yesterday and can be accessed via Nicola Smith’s post over at ToUChstone. The topical theme of this issue, in the week that saw International Women’s Day and the […]

  2. Jean Rogers
    Apr 6th 2010, 9:23 am

    As Vice President of Equity championing gender equality in UK TV, film and Theatre Drama where images in the media (at best 36.5% to 63.5% male) woefully reflect the actual female population of 52% to 48% male, I was very interested to read “The key reason that fewer women have so far been made unemployed is therefore not that their jobs are intrinsically safer, but that more (around 40% of female employees nationally) work in public sector occupations where large scale redundancies have not taken place.
    In the TV industry Skillset has recently reported that between 2006 and 2009 4950 women left key roles in TV compared with just 750 men! This is a real worry and we must do all we can to stop this trend.
    Equity has a Viewers’ petition which we urge you all to sign since what is also seen on our screens influences how society sees women and what is presently being said is that women are the secondary gender with a “sell-by” date. A female performer’s career peters out after 40. This is a scandal! It is a waste of the training that both sexes get initially and with 44% of the female population being over 45 it makes little sense.
    Please sign and encourage relatives and friends to do likewise. The BBC and other programme makers should be helping equality not hindering it.
    Link to the petition:

    http://www.gopetition.com/online/24658.html

    Jean Rogers Equity Vice President
    member of FIA gender equality steering group

  3. Kate Kinninmont
    Apr 7th 2010, 3:38 pm

    Women in Film & TV are shocked at the Skillset figures – not only have we lost almost 5,000 women’s jobs compared to 750 men’s jobs in the industry, but half of all women in TV are under 35 years old, and women are on average paid £6,800pa less than their male colleagues.

    Equality legislation has been in place for 40 years – we all have to work together to ensure that employers actually obey Employment and Equality legislation!