Labour Market Report #4: a weak recovery
Today we have published our latest Labour Market Report, which takes a brief look at the latest employment figures. The unemployment numbers are beginning to improve: the latest figure – 2,472,000 – is 23,000 higher than the previous quarter, but 38,000 lower than last month’s figure.
Other data are worrying. There are more than three quarters of a million people (772,000) who have been unemployed for more than a year, 85,000 more than in the previous quarter. Economic inactivity rose 29,000 compared with the previous quarter, mainly because of a 58,000 increase in the number of people inactive because they are long-term sick (the largest increase since the recession began).
Employment, at 28,865,000, is up 5,000 on last month’s figures. Public sector employment has fallen for the first time since the end of 2007. Private sector employment has risen – up 12,000, compared to the previous quarter – but is still 972,000 lower than it was at the start of 2008.
Overall, employment is 700,000 lower than at the start of the recession. Our analysis of the data shows that this figure would have been well over a million if it were not for the increase in ‘atypical’ employment that has taken place over the past two years:
- Self-employment has risen by 93,000,
- Part-time employment by 275,000, and
- Temporary employment by 61,000.
These are the signs of a weak recovery. Public sector employment is already falling; it would be a tremendous shame if a round of massive cuts accelerated those job losses and nipped in the bud the tentative private sector recovery.