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Comment on the latest ONS labour market statistics

11 August 2010

Commenting on today’s ONS labour market statistics, Charles Levy, Senior Researcher at The Work Foundation said:

'Today’s positive employment figures mask the fact that many groups are still struggling in the labour market. In the three months to June, 59,000 more people reported taking on temporary work because they could not find a permanent job. For 35-64 year olds employment fell by 12,000 while long term unemployment (twelve months plus) expanded by 33,000 and unemployment amongst women increased by 21,000 (ILO definition, all who looked for work in past four weeks and who were able to start a job in two weeks time).

Perhaps most worryingly, data from the Jobcentre Plus administrative system suggests that the rate of decrease in unemployment had slowed significantly in July. This data measures the number of individuals claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA) and is more up to date than the Labour Force Survey.

Overall, employment expanded by 184,000 jobs in the three months to June. This is the greatest quarterly increase since 1989. The labour market is continuing to strengthen – driven by young people and those over the age of 65. Unemployment and economic inactivity are also falling. This is certainly welcome news and fits with the strong growth in GDP seen in the first two quarters of the year. However, the labour market still has a very long way to go before it can regain the 725,000 jobs lost in the recession, and these weaknesses may well be exposed once the full strength of public sector spending cuts and redundancies are felt.'

Ends

Notes to editors
In July the count of individuals claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) fell by 3,800 (0.3%). This compares poorly with the fall of 15,900 in June, 31,100 in May and 32,000 in April.
The 725,000 jobs lost during the recession represent the contraction in UK employment between March-May 2008 and January-March 2010. It took eight to ten years for our economy to re-create the jobs lost in the last two recessions and in that context these are still early results.
Charles Levy is available for interviews and briefings.
The Work Foundation is the leading independent authority on work and its future. It aims to improve the quality of working life and the effectiveness of organisations by equipping leaders, policymakers and opinion-formers with evidence, advice, new thinking and networks www.theworkfoundation.com.


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