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Comment on the latest ONS labour market statistics

Gideon Benari

13 October 2010

For immediate release: 13 October 2010

Minimal improvement in unemployment levels despite substantial increases in employment

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

'Substantial increases in employment have made no progress in reducing unemployment in the three months to August 2010. The discrepancy is caused by the rise in the number of people looking for work.

Moreover, employment growth is largely driven by part-time work and there was a significant increase in the number of people who said they took a part-time job due to a lack of full-time jobs. We have yet to see any significant recovery in full-time work.

As in previous recessions, the knowledge intensive services are leading the jobs recovery in both the UK and the US. In the year to June 2010, nearly 200,000 new jobs were created in knowledge based services in the UK, while traditional services and production lost almost three quarters of a million jobs (see chart).
Knowledge Based Job Recovery in the UK and US

A key test of the Spending Review next week will be how far the cuts in public spending are balanced by measures that support the UK’s key growth sectors of advanced manufacturing, high tech services, creative industries and the low carbon economy.

With economic growth slowing and the full impact of public sector spending cuts still to come, there is a real danger that the job recovery will come to a halt and unemployment start to rise again. In the United States this is exactly what happened last month, when total US employment fell because the rise in private sector jobs was not enough to off-set significant job losses in state and local government.'

Notes to editors 

Ian Brinkley is available for interviews and briefings.

  1. Numbers in employment went up by 178,000 and unemployment measured by the ILO definition went down by 20,000 in the three months to August 2010 compared with the previous three months; while claimant count unemployment went up by 5,000 in September.
    The ILO definition of “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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. The WorkWorld Media Awards 2010 call for submissions is open until 1 November.

    Media enquiries:

    Gideon Benari 020 7976 3584 or 07825 527 040