When students leave uni, full-time work is harder to find than ever

 

Unemployment has dropped to its lowest level for almost a year – but Britain's part-time workforce burst through the eight million mark for the first time.

Official figures showed a 46,000 fall in unemployment to 2.56 million in the quarter to June – the lowest since last July despite a worsening double-dip recession for the UK. Jobseekers Allowance claimants also surprisingly fell by 5,900 to 1.59 million.

Politicians welcomed the signs of life in the UK jobs market but the figures also underlined the increasing number of part-time workers, which jumped 71,000 over the quarter to hit 8.07 million – the highest for 20 years. Of these, a record 1.42 million are being forced into part-time work because they are unable to find full-time positions. Youth unemployment also remains above one million with more than one in five seeking work.

While the UK also created 130,000 full-time jobs over the period, experts warned that the part-time trend was likely to continue.

Daniel Solomon, of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said: "The main forces exerting upward pressure on unemployment have been weak domestic demand as households struggle with their debt burdens and monthly bills, weak public sector demand as the Government looks to reduce the structural deficit, and weak demand from abroad as the eurozone tackles its debt crisis and emerging Asia begins to slow.

"In response to these pressures, there has been a tendency for workers to take up part-time employment."

The figures also showed a pre-Olympic hiring spree flattering the jobs figures as London accounted for virtually all of the 46,000 drop in unemployment. The number of people in work increased by 201,000 to almost 30 million, the highest since last summer, with half of that rise coming in London. Wages are still lagging behind the cost of living however as average earnings increased by 1.6 per cent in the year to June – half the current 3.2 per cent rate of inflation.

The jobs figures gave a political boost to a coalition under intense pressure over its economic strategy. The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said: "These are positive, encouraging figures demonstrating the strength of our private sector – notwithstanding the difficult economic times, it is still creating jobs, the vast majority of which are full time." An apparently buoyant jobs market also contrasts with official estimates showing a deepening of the UK's double-dip recession between April and June. This has led some experts to cast doubt over the growth figures.

Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said: "The labour market remains remarkably resilient. But we doubt this will last with the economy back in recession."

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, warned: "This small fall is welcome, but there will be no lasting Olympics legacy in the jobs market."

Case study: 'This way it's easier to hunt for the next job'

Laura Greig, 25, from Denmead in Hampshire

"I am working part time at a books-and-craft shop, while I try to find full-time employment as a youth worker, or in a related area. I studied social sciences at Brighton University, graduating in 2008, then took a postgraduate diploma in careers guidance in 2010. I was hoping to get work at Connexions youth-advice service, but the Government cut the service and I missed the opportunity. My employers are good to me and working part time allows me to do voluntary work and go to interviews in the hunt for full-time employment. Recently I've been doing voluntary work for the National Citizen Service in Winchester – so that might lead to a permanent position. I hope so; it's getting frustrating".

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Tradewind Recruitment: DT/Design and Technology Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We are working with a school that needs a t...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We are working with a school in Cambridgesh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Daily, short and long term Supply Teachers urgently required.

£115 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Supply teachers required throughou...

Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate - Newly Qualified Teachers Required For Sept 2015

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate Teachers/ Newly Qua...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks