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Ian Brinkley

Comment on the latest ONS labour market statistics

Authors: Ian Brinkley Gideon Benari

15 September 2010

For immediate release: 15 September 2010

Rising employment masks weak public sector and growing gender employment gap

Commenting on today’s labour market statistics, Ian Brinkley, associate director of The Work Foundation said:

'Overall employment grew by 286,000 comparing the three months to July with the previous three months. But weakness in private sector service jobs suggests the possibility of a faltering recovery.

For the first time, we are beginning to see the tip of the cuts iceberg in the public sector. Public sector employment fell by 13,000 comparing March and June, excluding the publicly owned banks. Meanwhile, the Office for Budgetary Responsibility is expecting 60,000 jobs to go by the end of the next financial year (2011-2012). Without a stronger recovery in private service sector jobs, significant job shedding in the public sector can only have one effect – higher unemployment.

The figures also show worrying signs that unemployment amongst women is rising. Although over the recession as a whole the vast majority of job losses were for men, female unemployment is now starting to rise. 50,000 more women were unemployed while male unemployment has fallen by 58,000 comparing the three months to July with the previous three months. The underlying cause of this may be weakness in services employment compounded by job losses in the public sector starting to feed through into the labour market figures.'

Notes to editors
1. ILO unemployed includes all those who sought work in the last four weeks and are able to start a job in two weeks time. The much less comprehensive claimant count measure showed a further fall in May, widening the already considerable gap between these two measures of unemployment. Unemployment using the ILO measure and total employment are both increasing because the working age population is going up and new job seekers are still entering the labour market.
2. Ian Brinkley is available for interviews and briefings.
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