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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Private sector not replacing lost public sector jobs

Responding to the latest UK unemployment statistics release today, think tank IPPR is urging the Government to extend the 'youth contract' to guarantee everyone out of work for more than a year a job.

The latest figures show private sector jobs have only risen by 5,000 but cuts in public sector employment, for the same period are 67,000. Overall, UK unemployment rose by 128,000 in the three months to October to 2.64 million, the highest level since 1994.

But analysis by IPPR of today's figures show that:

  • Overall, 868,000 people have been unemployed for more than a year, the highest for 15 years
  • Of those, 227,000 young people (aged 18-24) have been unemployed for more than a year, the highest for 17 years
  • More than a million (1,026,000) young people (aged 16-24) are now unemployed, the highest since comparable records began in 1992
  • More than a million women (1,103,000) are now unemployed, the highest for 23 years
  • Of those, over a quarter of women (307,000) have been unemployed for more than a year, the highest since 1994

IPPR argues that the Government should extend the new 'youth contract' to ensure a 'jobs guarantee' for everyone unemployed for more than a year. IPPR says these jobs should be created in local government and the voluntary sector and be paid at the minimum wage. IPPR argues that if people unemployed for more than a year refuse to work they should lose their benefits.

IPPR Chief Economist, Tony Dolphin, said:

"Private sector jobs have only risen by 5,000 but cuts in public sector employment, for the same period are 67,000. The public sector is the only broad sector of the economy that employs more women than men. If the OBR's latest forecasts are right, unemployment will increase further next year, and women are likely to bear the brunt in 2012."

A new IPPR report published today argues that providing universal childcare is crucial to improve the UK's female employment rate. It shows that universal childcare pays for itself: each mother returning to work part-time on an average wage after a year's maternity leave would net the Treasury £4,860 over four years, in additional tax revenue. This rises to £20,050 if women work full-time.

The report shows that the employment rate of women with children in the UK is lower than most OECD countries - ranking 19th behind countries like Iceland, Sweden and Denmark, which have affordable, high-quality childcare provision.

Notes to Editors:

IPPR's new report - Making the case for universal childcare - is available to download from:

http://ippr.org/publications/55/8382/making-the-case-for-universal-childcare

The latest unemployment figures can be found here http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/december-2011/index.html

Contacts:

Richard Darlington, 07525 481 602, [email protected]

Tim Finch, 07595 920899, [email protected]