More than 4.5 million Britons have fallen victim to a jobs crisis far deeper than unemployment figures suggest, according to a new analysis of government data.
A record 1.9 million people are "underemployed" – in temporary or part-time jobs – because they can't find permanent full-time work. The figure is the highest since records began in 1992, according to the new research by the Trades Union Congress.
Unemployment stands at 2.68 million, the highest in a generation. This means that 4.58 million Britons are out of work or defined by the Office for National Statistics as unable to find permanent and/or full-time work and in "involuntary" part-time or temporary work.
More than one in 10 Britons of working age are jobless or underemployed. The latest government figures account for 11.4 per cent of the working-age population, a proportion that has virtually doubled in seven years – up from 6 per cent in October 2004.
Those who want work are resorting to part-time or temporary jobs, which tend to be low paid and short-lived.
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: "Rather than address the UK's jobs crisis, the government record seems to be stuck on the mantra of 'there are plenty of jobs out there'. This is untrue and an insult to the millions desperately looking for work." He added: "The UK's jobs crisis is not confined to those out of work. Nearly two million people are taking part-time or temp jobs because permanent full-time work just isn't out there." He added: "People are desperate to take any job, even if it's on lower pay and shorter hours, but this kind of work is not viable in the long term."
Mr Barber wants the Government to create "decent" jobs and get more people working and spending – the only way to get the economy "back on track".