Unemployment down but more time spent jobless

THE NUMBER of people without jobs who are looking for work fell by 57,000 between March and May, against the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed yesterday.

Yet the number of people who are unemployed for more than a year or two is on the rise. In the same space of time, 15,000 more people have been unemployed for more than a year, and 11,000 for more than two.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent, in comparison to eight per cent for December 2012 to February this year. The total number of people unemployed in the UK is 2.52m.

In London unemployment fell notably compared to the previous three months, down 16,000 to a total of 368,000. The jobless rate in the capital stands at 8.6 per cent nonetheless, above the UK average.

“A stronger pace of job creation would be necessary to deliver a significant fall in the UK unemployment rate,” said Barclays’ Blerina Urici, adding that there is “limited scope for the rate to fall considerably”.

The number of people who are classed as economically inactive, not in work or looking for work, rose by 87,000 in the same period up to May. The rate of employment stood at 71.4 per cent, up by only 0.1 per cent from earlier in the year, but down on 12 months earlier.

Youth employment also fell between March and May, to 3.63m. The number of people aged 16-24 in work dipped by 31,000. But the number of unemployed young people also fell, down to 959,000, a fall of 20,000. This figure includes full time students who are looking for work.

Yesterday, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s employment outlook lauded the UK and other countries, which passed labour market reforms in the 1990s, suggesting that such action had allowed them to more successfully limit unemployment since the financial crisis.