The South West TUC welcomed the latest employment figures showing the number of people in work in the region has risen by 1.1 per cent, but said the sharp rise in long-term unemployment – up by 900 per cent in North Dorset – was deeply worrying and showed it was far too early to talk of a jobs recovery.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show employment in the South West was up 1.1 per cent in July to September 2010 compared to the same period last year.
However, while male employment was up by 3.5 per cent, female employment fell by 1.3 per cent.
More worrying is the fact that the number of people on job seekers allowance for 12 months or more has risen by nearly 250,000 in England and Wales – more than double the number (112,900) at the start of the recession in January 2008.
Figures for long-term unemployment in the South West show big variations, with the number of long-term job seekers up by 144 per cent in Bristol, 306 per cent in North Somerset, 300 per cent in South Gloucestershire, 273 per cent in Bath & North East Somerset, 278 per cent in Wiltshire, 478 per cent in Poole – and an alarming 900 per cent in North Dorset.
South West TUC Regional Secretary Nigel Costley told the PRSD: “The recent fall in unemployment is welcome, but it would be dangerously naïve to believe that these figures constitute a jobs recovery.
“We can see from announcements of job cuts being made in the public sector that bad news is on its way and it will take some months for these losses to show up in the statistics.
“The latest employment figures conceal worrying trends – the fact that women are finding it harder to secure jobs than men and the sharp rise in long-term unemployment, which is of deep concern.”
A TUC analysis of official statistics shows the increase in long-term unemployment is a result of hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost during the recession and insufficient new ones being created.
Nigel Costley said this situation was likely to get worse as the government’s spending cuts are expected to put at least an extra million people on the dole.
(from a press release)