Labour Market Report #9: Unemployment still high with vacancies falling
Today we have published our ninth labour market report, which shows that despite a significant rise in employment levels all is far from well in the labour market. Employment levels rose by 167,000 on the quarter (July – Sept 2010) and by 31,000 on the month (the result of a 34,000 increase in male employment levels countered by a fall of 3,000 in the number of women in work). However, the vacancy level (453,000) has been falling for three consecutive months and is now only slightly higher than at its lowest point during the recession (429,000 in July 2009), with 5.3 unemployed people for each vacancy. This is a significant rise from the pre- recession ratio of 2.2 unemployed people per job.
Unemployment remains high, and by the ILO measure (2,448,000) it showed no change on the month. While male unemployment has now been falling for 6 months, female unemployment levels continue to rise, having now surpasseed the levels seen at the height of the 1990s recession. 817,000 people across the UK are facing long-term unemployment of over 12 months, a quarterly rise of 20,000, and young people’s unemployment rates remain far higher than those of the population on average – with 17.1 per cent of adults aged 18-24 out of work. In addition, the latest figures on the number of full-time employees (i.e. excluding the self-employed) actually fell by 62,000 from the previous quarter and the number of part-time workers who could not find a full-time job has now reached a record high (1,146,000).
The Government are right to state that employment is rising and that, on the quarter, unemployment has fallen. But it is far too soon to call the labour market recovery. The foundations new jobs are being built on are shaky and with over 490,000 public sector job losses in the public sector (and corresponding cuts in the private sector) to come, ongoing progress in the jobs market is by no means certain.