Dole queues shrink again

Unemployment has fallen by 7,000 to hit 2.59 million in the three months to July. And it's all down to new private sector jobs and the rise of the part-timer.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
The ONS is preaching the labour market gospel this morning. The number of unemployed people fell by 7,000 over the last three-month period, it reckons, with 236,000 more people in employment. Dole queues have also shrunk, with 15,000 fewer people waiting for their UB40 (Job Seekers Allowance, for those under 30).

But where are all the jobs coming from?

Well, the private sector is responsible for adding a record 471,000 jobs in the second quarter, far out-pacing the 271,000 drop in public sector workers. Although, drilling down into the data, the statistics have been slightly skewed by the reclassification of some educational workers from the public sector.

There’s also been a quiet revolution in the ways that we are working in the UK: the data shows a marked fall in the number of people working full-time jobs, down by 640,000, and a headcount rise of 628,000 in part-time employment.

Employment is now up to 29.56 million, the highest rate since May 2008, only exceeded by the 276,000 rise seen in the three months to July 2010 and the 239,000 increase seen in the three months to August 1987 [hat tip to Chris Williamson at Markit for the data mining there].

As always with market data, there’s another side to the coin, however. Despite the rise of the gamefully employed - the unemployment rate has now fallen 0.1% to 8.1% - the number of people that have been unemployed for more than one year rose to 904,000, its highest since 1996.

Nevertheless, the good outweighs the bad this time round. And the trend of job creation will no doubt settle a few nerves at the Bank of England – Mervyn King can remove his hovering hand over the big, red, ‘stimulus’ button. But unless we see some real economic growth in the UK, unemployment cannot continue to fall. Come on Draghi, Merkel, et al. Sort the eurozone and get us all back in the black.

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