Lobbying body challenges true meaning of unemployed fall

Unemployment
in the UK has fallen for the third month in a row, but The Work Foundation says
official figures disguise the extent of labour market ‘churn’.

It  says the falling claimant count fails to
show the true story as large-scale job losses in some sectors are being offset
by job creation in others.

Andy
Westwood, head of public policy research at the lobbying organisation,
said:  "Stability in the claimant
count does not mean stability in the job market.

"Each
month there are considerable job losses across many sectors. In addition to
manufacturing, redundancies are now hitting the retail sector, financial
services, the City, telecoms and newer high-tech manufacturing businesses.

"Although
there are equal, if not greater numbers of new jobs being created in the UK,
these jobs are typically in the public and service sectors and there is
widespread prejudice against them.

"People
who lose their jobs in manufacturing or financial services rarely want to work
in the public sector or in a supermarket, feeling that these are of lower
status, pay and quality.

"In
the end there are many individuals – most typically older men – who will not
work at all when faced with this kind of choice."

Westwood
said a debate about job quality, led by the Government and policy community is
long overdue.

*Statistics
released today by the Office for National Statistics show the number of
claimants of unemployment benefit dropped 200 to 946,000 – 3.1 per cent of the
workforce.

The
number of jobs in the manufacturing sector has dropped 163,000 in the past year
to 3.659 million.

In
the economy overall, the number of jobs has increased by 211,000 in the past
year to 28.5 million.

By Quentin Reade

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