Main job sectors for young people have shed nearly a million jobs since 2007

Published on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:24
Posted by Scott Buckler

The manufacturing and construction sectors have suffered the biggest loss of jobs since the eve of the recession, while finance and business services is the only sector with a bigger workforce today, according to a TUC analysis published today (Tuesday) ahead of a busy week of economic indicators

The TUC analysis looks at industries including construction, manufacturing, retail, hotels and restaurants, and the finance and business services sector.

The analysis finds that the types of jobs that account for over half of all youth employment - manufacturing, construction and retail, hotels and restaurants - have shed nearly a million jobs since 2007.

The number of manufacturing jobs fell by 14 per cent between the last quarter of 2007 and the last quarter of 2011, a loss of 406,000 jobs. The construction sector had the next biggest fall losing 281,000 jobs (12 per cent of all construction jobs).

The retail, hotel and restaurants industry has lost 221,000 jobs since the end of 2007, a fall of three per cent. Four in ten young workers are employed in this sector, compared to just one in six workers over the age of 25.

Finance and business services is the only sector to have expanded since 2007, gaining 98,000 jobs (up two per cent) over the last four years.The relative health of finance and business services has helped to boost pay for workers in this industry. Wages have increased by 11.3 per cent since 2007, compared to an increase of just 0.2 per cent in construction and 6.7 per cent in retail, hotel and restaurants.

However, with RPI inflation increasing by 13.5 per cent over the same period, the wages of all workers have fallen in real terms.The TUC analysis comes ahead of the latest inflation figures published later this morning, as well as pay and jobs figures published tomorrow.

Independent market forecasters are predicting a small rise in CPI inflation and a further fall in wage growth, which would mean that prices have been rising nearly three times as fast as wages in recent months.

And with the Office for Budget Responsibility now forecasting that wages will continue to fall in real terms until mid-2013, three years on from when wages last rose, the outlook is looking tough for both job seekers and those already in work.

While those earning over £150,000 can look forward to a tax cut as a result of last month's Budget, families on low and middle incomes are being stung by the combination of tax credit cuts, low wage growth and tough competition for the few jobs out there, says the TUC.

The TUC wants the government to make investment in jobs its top priority by introducing a guarantee of a paid job or training for any young person out of work for six months or more, and giving more incentives for businesses to invest rather than sit on their record cash piles.

Most of all, says the TUC, the Chancellor should heed the growing economic warning signs and end his self-defeating austerity strategy that is stifling the UK's economic prospects, putting people out of work and failing to bring the deficit down.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'The manufacturing sector experienced heavy job losses during the recession and has failed to recover during the UK's admittedly weak recovery. While the retail and construction sectors have gained jobs in the last 12 months, they are still a long way off their pre-recession health.

'A recovery in retail, hotels and restaurants is particularly important for young people as this is where they are most likely to find work. Unfortunately these jobs are heavily dependent on people's disposable incomes and falling wages are forcing people to rein in their spending.

The UK economy desperately needs more jobs and the return of decent pay rises. Our hopes of a sustainable economic recovery depend on this.

The government should make jobs and fair pay its top priority, rather than carrying on with its ill-advised austerity plan that's making a tough economic climate even worse.

'Ministers can start by introducing a guarantee of paid work or training for every young person who has been out of work for six months or more, as well as a new youth credit to boost access to training, work placements or progression into better jobs. This would go some way what towards redressing the harsh cuts in EMA and jobs support that young people have suffered under this government.'

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