Britons across the isle are being forced into part-time employment in record numbers as the availability of full-time jobs is scarce at best. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed women throughout the UK has risen to a 25-year high, the latest official statistics reveal.
To make matters worse, 30 percent of unemployed Britons have been without work for a year or longer, providing grim realism behind the lowest overall unemployment rate in nearly a year.
Between December and January alone, the number of Britons working part-time due to a lack of full-time jobs soared to 1.4 million, marking an increase of 89,000 in one month. The figure is also the highest since comparable records began being kept in 1992.
The increase in part-time workers helped assuage overall unemployment in the UK, which fell by a mere 0.1 percent, reaching 2.65 million.
“A properly recovering jobs market is not characterised by a growing army of underemployed part-timers and pay rises still falling well short of price inflation,” said Dr. John Philpott, an economist for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
According to the latest figures, women are bearing the brunt of joblessness as 8,000 more women became unemployed from November through January. As February began, 1.14 million female Britons were unemployed, the highest number in a quarter of a century.
Meanwhile, the number of unemployed men stood at 1.51 million during the same period, down nearly 43,000 from the previous quarter.
According to experts, these figures cast a shadow of doubt over government claims of a recovering labour market.
However, according to the Office of National Statistics, part of the rise in female unemployment is due to changes in the calculation of women’s benefits, such as single mothers being moved onto Jobseeker’s Allowance, or JSA, from lone parents’ allowance.
The number of Britons claiming JSA also increased for the 17th consecutive month, rising by 3,600 to a total of 1.61 million. However, last month’s increase marked the smallest monthly increase since last December.
Long-term unemployment for Britons has hit a 16-year high, with 26,000 more people being added to the growing list of Britons who have been out of work for over a year. There are currently 883,000 Britons suffering from long-term unemployment.
The latest official ONS figures also revealed that there were 61,000 less retired people under the age of 65, suggesting fewer Britons feel comfortable retiring in the current economic climate.
This has helped alleviate the economically inactive statistic, dropping by 25,000 to 9.3 million. However, the number of “stay-at-home” mums has risen by 34,000, the ONS said.