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million more workers are under-employed now than on the eve of the
recession in early 2008, according to a Trades Union Congress (TUC)
analysis of official figures published this week.
The number of under-employed workers - those doing part-time
jobs because they can't find full-time ones or wanting more hours
in their current jobs - has increased by 42% over the last four
years to reach 3.3 million.
The analysis shows that under-employment is an even greater
problem than has previously been realised, because it is not just
those in part-time jobs who want to work full-time who are
under-employed. Many more workers across the economy want more
hours in their existing jobs.
The TUC analysis comes as unemployment has fallen slightly in
recent months, although many new jobs have been in London and could
end when the Paralympics finishes.
However, rising under-employment shows that there are deep
rooted problems in the labour market, with more and more people not
working or earning enough to get by.
While any job is better than no job at all, particularly during
a recession, the TUC is concerned that under-employment is becoming
an ever-more permanent feature of the labour market.
Under-employment causes a huge cut in pay, and often also
involves working well below your skill level. Long periods of this
kind of work can put a real strain on the finances of workers and
their families, and can damage people's career prospects, says the
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'A million people
have lost their jobs since the eve of the recession in 2008. But
this tragic figure only tells half the story. A further million
people are now trapped in jobs that don't have enough hours to
provide the income they need to get by.
'Young people, women and low skilled workers are bearing the
brunt of our under-employment crisis. It is alarming just how few
young people today are able to find a job working enough hours.
This is a criminal waste of the talent and skills they have - all
because of a crisis they didn't cause.
'Rising under-employment blows apart the argument made by the
new right crop of Conservative MPs who think Britain is a nation of
'People in the real world know that fewer hours mean less pay,
and an even bigger struggle to pay the bills. That's why over three
million people say they want more work.
'Any job may be better than no job at all but long periods of
under-employment can do permanent damage to people's careers.
Ministers need to start taking the issue seriously as it's dragging
down the economy as well as causing financial hardship.
'Solving our under-employment crisis is not easy, and it won't
be tackled through endless unpaid work initiatives.
'What the country needs is an economic strategy that puts
people's futures ahead of self-defeating austerity. Cuts in
infrastructure spending must be reversed and growing industries
need more government support. We also need banks to start lending
again, so that businesses can grow and create jobs.'
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Source: Trades Union
Congress press release about under-employed people (link opens in a
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