You'd be twice as likely to be on the dole in the 1980s as today

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date: 21 April 2010

embargo: For immediate release

If unemployment had followed the same trend in the recent downturn as that in the 1980s recession, it would have kept rising until November 2014 and the dole queues would have been twice as long, according to a TUC analysis of the latest unemployment figures published today (Wednesday).

Six months after the end of the recent recession, there are 1.54 million people claiming unemployment benefit and the numbers are falling throughout the country. But six months after the 1980s recession ended, there were 2.32 million people on the dole and the claimant count was still rising.

A TUC analysis of claimant count unemployment across the UK since 1980 shows that Scotland, Northern Ireland and the East Midlands took the longest to recover from the 1980s recession.

Back in the 1980s, the number of people claiming the dole was more than twice as high at its peak as it is today in cities such as Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol, the TUC analysis shows.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'These are mixed figures. The good news is that the dole queues have now been shortening since January. But overall unemployment rose on the more accurate, but less up to date, ILO measure. This shows that the economy is still fragile and could easily go into retreat.

'A double dip recession remains a real threat, particularly if big spending cuts hit both public sector jobs and the companies that sell goods and services to the public sector, soon after the election.

'But it is still remarkable how the current jobs market has fared compared to the 1980s, when a whole generation was scarred - and scarred for a long time.

'Unemployment was the dominant economic, political and even cultural issue. In 1981 the group UB40, named after the then dole application form, had a hit with 'One in Ten' - about the proportion of the working population who were unemployed. This time around no-one expects a band called JSA01 to release 'One in Twenty', let alone have a hit with it.

'This time around there has been a different policy response to the recession with not just more help for the unemployed but also a willingness to boost the economy. But with 2.5 million people still out of work, unemployment should be a much bigger issue in the election than it is. All the parties and candidates should be asked hard questions about what their policies will mean for jobs and the unemployed.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Claimant count across UK regions in recent and 1980s recession (seasonally adjusted)

Region

Current claimant count (March 2010)

Claimant count six months after 80s recession

Projected peak if dole queues followed 80s recession

Further increase if dole queues followed 80s recession

North East

82,900

153,300

April 2013

41,800

North West

189,000

349,900

October 2014

94,100

Yorkshire and the Humber

153,200

211,700

December 2014

79,600

East Midlands

106,800

137,600

January 2015

50,900

West Midlands

170,600

266,000

November 2011

56,900

East of England

115,200

133,200

December 2014

57,300

London

221,800

246,500

January 2015

147,000

South East

147,400

177,700

September 2013

64,200

South West

88,700

134,900

December 2014

60,900

Wales

75,700

131,100

October 2014

38,300

Scotland

136,600

254,000

September 2015

78,000

Northern Ireland

55,900

86,600

May 2015

36,600

UK

1,543,800

2,320,000

Nov 2014

770,000

Source: www.nomisweb.co.uk

Claimant count in major cities across the UK (not seasonally adjusted)

City (local authority)

Current claimant count (March 2010)

Claimant count peak after 80s recession

Newcastle upon Tyne

9,075

26,394

Birmingham

50,469

94,282

Bolton

8,245

18,178

Liverpool

21,028

57,680

Manchester

18,396

45,709

Nottingham

12,617

23,946

Bradford

16,002

31,840

Kingston upon Hull

14,889

24,843

Leeds

25,016

45,138

Sheffield

16,569

44,600

York

4,006

8,204

Bristol

11,182

26,964

Brighton and Hove

7,425

14,860

Source: www.nomisweb.co.uk

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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

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