10 things you didn’t know about the unemployment statistics
Every month the Office for National Statistics publishes the UK’s unemployment figures. But the report doesn’t just give the big numbers. It includes a fascinating breakdown of the UK at work – and out of it.
Here are 10 things we learnt today (and the table numbers in the official release, so you can find them too):
1. There are fewer people employed than at any time in the last 12 years
The employment rate in the three months to January 2010 is 72.2% – it fell by 54,000 on the quarter to reach 28.86m. Table 2
2. There are over 8m ‘economically inactive’ people in the UK
8,157,000 people between 16 and retirement age to be exact – of whom 71% do not want a job. The biggest group are the 2.3m people looking after their families – up by 32,000 on the year. Next come students (2.3m) and the long-term sick (2m). 74,000 are ‘discouraged’ – up by 21,000 on the year.
3. If you work in the private sector, wages are going down … in the public sector, they’re going up
Average weekly earnings in the private sector are £426 per week – down 0.7% on January 2009. In the public sector, they’re higher – £461 per week, up 4.1% on Jan 2009.
4. Public sector jobs are still going up
6m people are employed in the public sector – +46,000 on the year. 21.1% of us work in the public sector. The biggest percentage increase has been in the NHS – up by 4% on the year to 1.6m people in January. In contrast, private sector employment is down by 527,000.
5. The highest wages are in construction – the lowest in hotels and restaurants
Construction workers get an average of £564 per week – compared to £303 for those who work in restaurants and hotels.
6. There are more workers from the USA; less from Europe
Employed workers from the EU14 countries – the rich European countries – are down by 26,000 on the year (-3.8%). Those from the new accession countries, such as Poland, have been hit less: down 3,000, or -0.7%. The biggest group going up are those from the USA – +25.6% (21,000 people), although India (+14,000) and Australia/New Zealand (+11%) have seen rises too.
7. There are more long-term unemployed
Those unemployed over six months has gone up by 58.7% to 549,000 people.
8. More of us are part-time
Part-time jobs are up – by 1.3% or 87,000 on the year. Meanwhile full-time employment has gone down by 3.4% (-642,000).
9. There are less young people employed
Employment is down for 16-17 year-olds (by 22.2% or 109,000) and 18-24 year-olds (down 6.6% or 237,000)
10. Southampton has the best unemployment figures this month
If you count reducing benefit claimant figures, that is. Constituencies in Southampton and Hampshire have seen the biggest drops ion claimant figures in the UK. In Southampton Test, the are 7.8% less claimants, in Southampton Itchen there are 6.7% less. Similar falls have taken place in Eastleigh and New Forest East.