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Analysis of today’s unemployment figures, by the think tank IPPR, shows that women and young workers have born the brunt of rising unemployment over the last year. Unemployment has now risen for the eight month in a row and the UK’s unemployment rate (8.4 per cent) is now the worst for 17 years, since 1995.

But behind these headlines, IPPR analysis shows that two thirds of the rise in unemployment over the last quarter has hit women, with 33,000 more women out of work and 16,000 more men.

  • More than a million women (1,123,000) are now unemployed, the highest for 23 years and a rise of 91,000 over the last year
  • Of those, over a quarter (27%) of women (304,000) have been unemployed for more than a year

Young people continue to be hit hard:

  • More than a million (1,038,000) young people (aged 16-24) are now unemployed, the second highest since comparable records began in 1992, and a rise of 73,000 in the last year
  • 246,000 young people (aged 16-24) have been unemployed for more than a year

Long-term unemployment remains worryingly high:

  • Overall, 860,000 people have been unemployed for more than a year - almost a third of all jobseekers
  • Almost half a million (425,000) people over 50 are now unemployed, up 39,000 in the last year
  • More than 40 per cent of unemployed over fifties have been out of work for more than a year, up 20,000 from the last quarter to189,000

IPPR North analysis shows the number of unemployed people compared to a year ago is:

  • up 22 per cent in the North West (57,000 more people unemployed)
  • up 13 per cent in the North East (16,000 more people unemployed)
  • up 13 per cent in London (15,000 more people unemployed)
  • up 10 per cent in East of England (19,000 more people unemployed)
  • up 8 per cent in Yorkshire and Humber (19,000 more people unemployed)
  • up 9 per cent in Wales (12,000 more people unemployed)
  • up 7 per cent in Scotland (15,000 more people unemployed)
  • up 2 per cent in East Midlands (4,000 more people unemployed)
  • up 2 per cent in South East (6,000 more people unemployed)
  • Down 5 per cent in West Midlands (12,000 fewer people unemployed)
  • Down 1 per cent in South West (1,000 fewer people unemployed)

Graeme Cooke, IPPR Associate Director, said:

“Women are bearing the brunt of rising unemployment. Two thirds of the latest rise has been among women. There is also a new record high for the number of people working part-time who are unable to find full time work: the highest since records began in 1992.

“The new ‘Youth Contract’ cannot come soon enough for a generation of young people experiencing the worst unemployment since comparable records began in 1992. But the Youth Contract should be just a first step. Government needs to guarantee a job for everyone out of work for more than a year. The next priority should be areas of the country experiencing the combination of both high unemployment and a low number of vacancies.

“The longer someone is unemployed, the less likely they are to ever return to work. Being out of work for more than a year can have a scarring effect, making it harder to get a job as well as having a negative impact on one’s health and well-being. This means that even when employment starts to pick up again, they will find it hard to compete with other jobseekers and could find themselves permanently shut out of the jobs market.

“The government should guarantee everyone who has been unemployed for more than a year a job at the minimum wage in local government or the voluntary sector. But with that right should come the responsibility to take that job or risk losing their benefits.”

Source: IPPR

Written by Matthew Abbott
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 15:03

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