One million more people have joined under-employed workforce since 2008

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date: 3 September 2012

embargo: 00.01hrs Tuesday 4 September 2012

A million more workers are under-employed now than on the eve of the recession in early 2008, according to a TUC analysis of official figures published today (Tuesday).

The number of under-employed workers - those doing part-time jobs because they can't find full-time ones or wanting more hours in their current jobs - has increased by 42 per cent over the last four years to reach 3.3 million.

The analysis shows that under-employment is an even greater problem than has previously been realised, because it is not just those in part-time jobs who want to work full-time who are under-employed. Many more workers across the economy want more hours in their existing jobs.

More than one in ten workers across the UK are under-employed, though the likelihood of being affected varies considerably by age, gender and job sector.

Women are more likely to be under-employed than men, with around one in eight employed women finding themselves without enough hours.

Under-employment is most common in low-skilled jobs, where around one in five workers are not getting enough hours. People working in sales and customer services are also increasingly likely to be under-employed. These occupations also have the highest rates of unemployment.

There has also been a recent surge in under-employment in professional occupations such as teaching, nursing, legal and skilled business jobs. The number of under-employed women in these jobs has more than doubled since 2008, increasing by 127 per cent.

Young people are almost twice as likely to be under-employed as any other age group with around one in five young people in this position. This, combined with high rates of joblessness, illustrates just how desperate the UK's youth jobs crisis is.

The sharpest rises in under-employment have taken place in Northern Ireland, the East Midlands and the North West although levels have increased by at least a third in every region of the UK.

The TUC analysis comes as unemployment has fallen slightly in recent months, although many new jobs have been in London and could end when the Paralympics finishes.

However, rising under-employment shows that there are deep rooted problems in the labour market, with more and more people not working or earning enough to get by.

While any job is better than no job at all, particularly during a recession, the TUC is concerned that under-employment is becoming an ever-more permanent feature of the labour market.

Under-employment causes a huge cut in pay, and often also involves working well below your skill level. Long periods of this kind of work can put a real strain on the finances of workers and their families, and can damage people's career prospects, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'A million people have lost their jobs since the eve of the recession in 2008. But this tragic figure only tells half the story. A further million people are now trapped in jobs that don't have enough hours to provide the income they need to get by.

'Young people, women and low skilled workers are bearing the brunt of our under-employment crisis. It is alarming just how few young people today are able to find a job working enough hours. This is a criminal waste of the talent and skills they have - all because of a crisis they didn't cause.

'Rising under-employment blows apart the argument made by the new right crop of Conservative MPs who think Britain is a nation of shirkers.

'People in the real world know that fewer hours mean less pay, and an even bigger struggle to pay the bills. That's why over three million people say they want more work.

'Any job may be better than no job at all but long periods of under-employment can do permanent damage to people's careers. Ministers need to start taking the issue seriously as it's dragging down the economy as well as causing financial hardship.

'Solving our under-employment crisis is not easy, and it won't be tackled through endless unpaid work initiatives.

'What the country needs is an economic strategy that puts people's futures ahead of self-defeating austerity. Cuts in infrastructure spending must be reversed and growing industries need more government support. We also need banks to start lending again, so that businesses can grow and create jobs.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Under-employment by age, 2008-2012

Age

Under-employment level, 2008

Under-employment level, 2012

Increase in level, 2008-2012

Under-employment rate, 2012 (per cent)

16-24

529,882

660,575

130,693

(25per cent)

18.6

25-34

492,919

736,804

243,885

(49 per cent)

11.2

35-49

837,340

1,159,062

321,722

(38 per cent)

10.9

50-64

432,713

694,131

261,418

(60 per cent)

9.3

65+

23,733

49,193

25,460

(107 per cent)

5.5

All ages

2,316,587

3,299,765

983,178

(42 per cent)

11.3

Under-employment by UK region and nation, 2008-2012

Region

Under-employment level, 2008

Under-employment level, 2012

Increase in level, 2008-2012

Under-employment rate, 2012 (per cent)

North East

91,188

132,105

40,917 (45 per cent)

11.6

North West

249,019

370,808

121,789

(49 per cent)

12.1

Yorkshire and Humberside

197,251

265,810

68,559

(35 per cent)

11.0

East Midlands

177,229

266,030

88,801

(50 per cent)

12.5

West Midlands

185,259

246,644

61,385

(33 per cent)

10.1

Eastern

206,904

304,953

98,049

(47 per cent)

10.6

London

299,708

441,085

141,377

(47 per cent)

11.6

South East

335,860

468,245

132,385

(39 per cent)

11.2

South West

218,672

293,636

74,964

(34 per cent)

11.8

Wales

124,720

172,696

47,976

(38 per cent)

13.0

Scotland

194,445

270,510

76,065

(39 per cent)

11.0

Northern Ireland

36,332

67,243

30,911

(85 per cent)

8.4

UK

2,316,587

3,299,765

983,178 (42 per cent)

11.3

Under-employment by occupation, 2008-2012

Occupation

Under-employment level, 2008

Under-employment level, 2012

Increase in level, 2008-2012

Under-employment rate, 2012 (per cent)

Managers and Senior Officials

150,609

126,674

-23,935

(-16 per cent)

4.4

Professional Occupations

191,434

368,555

177,121

(93 per cent)

6.6

Associate Professional and Technical

289,730

336,731

47,001

(16 per cent)

8.3

Administrative and Secretarial

207,290

317,008

109,718

(53 per cent)

9.6

Skilled Trades Occupations

232,247

341,144

108,897

(47 per cent)

10.8

Personal Service Occupations

297,363

454,032

156,669

(53 per cent)

17.6

Sales and Customer Service Occupations

286,181

458,312

172,131

(60 per cent)

19.3

Process, Plant and Machine Operatives

163,606

221,755

58,149

(36 per cent)

11.7

Elementary Occupations

498,127

673,992

175,865

(35 per cent)

21.3

All occupations

2,316,587

3,298,203

981,616 (42 per cent)

11.4

Source: Labour Force Survey

- The full TUC analysis is available at http://bit.ly/N82hoD

- The analysis takes into account both those who are working part-time and would like full-time work and those who would like to undertake more hours in their current job (controlling for double counting between the groups).

- There are small variations in total levels of under-employment documented in each table as a result of differential response rates to specific Labour Force Survey questions.

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

- Congress 2012 will be held at the Brighton Centre from Sunday 9 September to Wednesday 12 September 2012. The deadline for free media passes was noon on Wednesday 29 August. Credentials can still be applied for by completing the online form www.tuc.org.uk/mediacredentials but will now cost £50.

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Alex Rossiter T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07887 572130 E: arossiter@tuc.org.uk

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