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
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
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

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

WORLDbytes: Two-Day Intensive Camera training and Shoot: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March

expenses on shoots: WORLDbytes: Volunteering with a media based charity,for a ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 4 Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A school in Tameside is currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are currently looking for ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003