Unemployment must fall by 30,000 to show labour market is recovering, TUC warns

Unemployment figures will have to fall by at least 30,000 if the jobs market is on its way to recovery, the TUC has warned.

Ahead of the official labour market statistics, published later today, the union group said it will be looking for the number of people out of work to fall by more than 30,000 to show any signs of improvement in the jobs market.

Last month, the statistics showed the number of people unemployed fell by 7,000 over the three months to November 2009, to reach 2.46 million – the first quarterly drop in out-of-work people since the three months to May 2008.

A fall in the number of involuntary temporary and part-time workers, those that have been forced to take temporary positions or work less hours due to the recession, was also necessary to show the labour market was on its way to recovery, the TUC said.

Since the start of 2008, part-time employment has increased by 220,000. The union body claims this is more than matched by a 300,000 increase in the numbers working part-time because they cannot get full-time work.

This increase is particularly noticeable for male part-time workers – one-quarter of whom now say they are working part-time for want of a full-time job, according to the TUC.

General secretary Brendan Barber said: “Recent unemployment figures have been encouraging and show government action to stem the jobs crisis is working. Investment is the best way to secure a sustained economic recovery and cutting back on spending now could still unleash a double-dip recession and send unemployment soaring.”

He added: “The TUC is also concerned that job statistics could be making the market look deceptively healthy – a closer look suggests that thousands of people are taking part-time or temporary jobs because they cannot secure full-time positions. A growth in insecure and low-paid employment at the expense of secure work is not good news for them or for the economy.”

Last month, the CIPD warned a fall in youth unemployment was caused by 18 to 24-year-olds turning to study to avoid being on the dole.

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