Job market eases but long-term unemployed still growing

By staff

The number of people out of work for more than 12 months hit its highest level since May 1997 in May, latest figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the headline figure for the number of unemployed in the second quarter fell by 34,000 to reach 2.47 million.

Meanwhile the number claiming jobseekers’ allowance fell by 20,800 between May and June to reach 1.46 million.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said the coalition government accepted there was a “big challenge ahead” in terms of turning the economy around, however.

Fears of a double-dip recession continue to overshadow the current overall improvement in the state of the jobs market.

“The falls in headline and youth unemployment are pretty small, but the rises in long term unemployment and involuntary part-time and temporary work show just how fragile the economy remains,” TUC general secretary Brendan Barber commented.

“There is still only one vacancy for every five jobless people. And because unemployment behind lags the rest of the economy we have yet to see any impact from the new government’s policies on the dole queue.”

The impact of spending cuts is likely to see jobs lost in the private sector as well as the public sector. Mr Barber warned a double-dip recession “is beginning to look more likely every day”.