- Number of part-timers people looking for full-time work doubles to 1.45m
- Overall unemployment rate falls to 7.7% but mostly part-time jobs
- Four out of five new jobs since 2008 have gone to part-time women
levels of employment are being fuelled by people being forced to take part-time jobs, official figures showed today.
In the last five years since the financial crash the number of men in work has remained almost unchanged, but 280,000 who were in full-time jobs have been forced to cut their hours.
At the same time four out of five new jobs in the whole economy have been taken by women working fewer than 25 hours.
Between May to July 2008 and the same time this year the number of people in part-time work because they could not find a full-time job more than doubled from 689,000 to 1.45 million.
Overall unemployment fell to 2.49 million in the three months to July, to drive the unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent from 7.8 per cent.
The rate has taken on new significance because it is tied to the Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s new forward guidance policy.
The number of adults in work from May to July was 328,000 higher than the same time in 2008 when the financial downturn started, the ONS said.
However the number of people in employment has increased more slowly than the increase in the population.
The ONS added: ‘The number of men in work for May to July 2013 was 15.95 million, virtually the same as five years previously.
‘However the number of men working full-time fell by 272,000 to reach 13.85 million, while the number of men working part-time increased by 281,000 to reach 2.10 million.
Target: Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said interest rates will remain low until the unemployment rate falls below 7 per cent
The number of women in work for May to July 2013 was 13.89 million, 318,000 higher than five years previously.
‘This increase in female employment over the last five years was almost entirely due to part-time employment,’ the ONS said.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell in August by 32,600 from July to 1.4 million, today’s figures also showed.
July’s claimant count was also revised lower, and the combined 68,900 fall in claimants in July and August was the biggest two-month drop since June 1997.
But the continued squeeze on household incomes was highlighted by a 1.1 per cent increase in average weekly earnings between May and July versus a year earlier.
Employment minister Mark Hoban said: ‘This is a really encouraging set of figures, with the number of people in work rocketing by 80,000 in only three months – a rise driven entirely by a growth in full-time jobs.
‘The private sector has created jobs for 1.4 million more people under this government, and there are now more people employed in the private sector than ever before.
‘These are all positive signs that suggest the UK economy is turning the corner.’
But TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘While the headline figures show small improvements, youth employment has fallen sharply and long-term unemployment is still rising. There are also still record numbers of people trapped in involuntarily part-time work with underemployment continuing to soar.
‘Across the economy ordinary people are yet to feel the benefits of tentative growth, with wages rising around three times slower than prices.’
Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne added: ‘There is simply not enough work to go round and the proof is a record high in the number of part-time workers looking for fulltime jobs