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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Nursery Nurse

£6 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Newcastle: Level 3 Nursery Nurse - Newcas...

Cover Supervisor

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunities for Welsh Spe...

Cover Supervisor

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunities for Welsh Spe...

Cover Supervisor

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunities for Welsh Spe...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on