Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

TUC’s 11th Recession Report

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This was published today and can also be accessed over the usual route via the TUC’s excellent Touchstone blog.

The headline figures from the brief are that ILO unemployment now stands at 2.47m (7.9%) and has risen for 14 successive months. It now stands 743,000 people higher than at the same quarter one year ago. Some 560,000 people have now been out of work for over one year. Meanwhile, the population in work stands at 28.9m – representing an employment rate of 72.5%, a decrease of 2.1 points on the figure one year ago.

The Report also includes some very interesting data on out of work benefits with which to respond to right wing commentators, as well as on lower-paid workers which is the group hit hardest by the recession.

The special commentary this month is on the adequacy of benefit rates for unemployed people. Starting from the perspective that Jobseeker’s Allowance is lower today relative to average earnings (it’s just 10%) than was the case for unemployment benefits in the 1980s (c. 17%) and 1990s (c. 15%) recessions, the TUC is renewing its call for an increase in JSA to at least £75 per week (a £10 increase). This is where JSA would now be if the incoming Labour government in 1997 had re-introduced the informal link between unemployment benefit and movements in average earnings abandoned by – yes, you guessed it – in 1980. The link existed for a very valid reason – it ensures that people out of work over a period of time do not lose relative ground on those remaining in work, thus holding back the growth of inequality given the obvious links between existence on benefits and families in poverty.

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Written by Calvin

25/09/2009 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Economic trends

Tagged with ,

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