Part-time Britain: Record numbers now have jobs but most finding employment work for less than 25 hours

  • 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.

While overall employment levels have risen in the last five years, it is almost entirely due to people taking part-time jobsWhile overall employment levels have risen in the last  five years, it is almost entirely due to people taking part-time jobs

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 Bank has said it will not consider  raising rates from their record low until the unemployment rate falls to 7 per  cent – which it forecasts will take around three years – barring a spike in  inflation.

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.

While the CPI rate of inflation is running at more than 2.5 per cent, wages rose by just 1.1 per cent last monthWhile the CPI rate of inflation is running at more than  2.5 per cent, wages rose by just 1.1 per cent last month

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



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