Part-time workers at record level
Jul 14 2010
The part-time workforce reached record levels in the three months to May as people struggled to find permanent jobs in the recession, official figures have shown.
The figures showed a 148,000 quarterly rise in part-timers to 7.82 million, the highest level since Office for National Statistics (ONS) records began in 1992.
The ONS said that a record 27% of the total workforce was now in part-time employment, with the category accounting for the vast majority of the 160,000 rise in total employment - the biggest quarterly jump since August 2006.
At the same time the number of full-time employees fell by 22,000 over the month to 18.2 million, the ONS said.
The figures overshadowed a 34,000 fall in unemployment to 2.47 million in the three months to May and a fifth successive fall in the claimant count, which was down by 20,800 to 1.46 million in June.
The ONS also said the number of people out of work for more than a year reached a 13-year high of 787,000 after a 61,000 rise in the three months to May.
The number of economically inactive workers - which hit record levels in the quarter to April - edged down by 0.2% to 8.1 million. This is the first fall in this category since March last year. But those classing themselves as "long-term sick" reached 2.04 million, the highest level since March 2007.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Yvette Cooper said: "These figures show just why it is dangerous and callous to cut support for jobs and the economy. May's small fall in unemployment is welcome and reflects the extra support Labour put into the economy as it started to come out of recession.
"But there's still little sign of private sector job growth, with jobs in areas like construction still being heavily hit. And this is before the big spending cuts and the surge in young people leaving education this summer.
"Cutting 90,000 youth jobs and hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs while the private sector is still so fragile will condemn many people to a lifetime on the dole. In the 1990s the Tories said unemployment was a price worth paying to cut inflation - now they clearly think it's a price worth paying to bring down the deficit."