Is David Cameron right to claim that women’s employment rates are higher than May 2010?
Today at PMQ’s David Cameron claimed that there were more women in work now than ‘at the time of the election’. This is correct – but also deeply misleading. The facts are that between April – June 2010 and June – August 2011:
- The number of women aged 16 and over in the population rose by 194,000 from 25,494,000 to 25,688,000
- The number of women aged 16 and over in work rose by 25,000 from 13,489,000 to 13,523,00
- The working age female employment rate (16-64) fell by 0.1 per cent from 65.5 to 65.4
- The number of women aged 16 and over unemployed rose by 77,000 from 992,000 to 1,069,000 – the highest level since 1988
- The unemployment rate for women aged 16 and over rose by 0.5 per cent from 6.8 per cent to 7.3 per cent – the highest rate since 1994
- The number of women in part-time work who want a full-time job rose by 99,000.
Who knows which time point the PM has used to come up with his 50,000 increase. But wherever you measure from the key issue is that while there are more women in jobs, there are far more women aged 16 and over in the population, far more women facing unemployment and women’s chances of being in work have fallen. The unemployment level is the highest it has been for 23 years. The UK is facing an unemployment crisis and to pretend otherwise is to simply to deny reality.