Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

TUC Recession Report No. 12

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The TUC has published its most recent commentary in this insightful and well-researched series today – you can access it via Nicola Smith’s posting for the TUC’s Touchstone blog here.

The headline figures are that unemployment in the June-August period is, at 2.47m, static on the previous month’s figures (for May-July), but higher than the same period in 2008 by 677,000. The unemployment rate is 7.9%, an increase of 2.1 percentage points on 2008, while the employment rate was 72.6% – 1.8 percentage points down on the same point in 2008 but an increase of 0.1 points on the figures for the previous month.

The TUC comments that unemployment is likely to continue rising into 2010 – small falls in unemployment, or rises in the employment rate, may be more of a blip than a sign of the corner being turned – but the rate at which it is increasing may be beginning to slow. Certainly this recession, despite its length and the sharpness of the drop in GDP, has had a lesser impact on employment than we could have expected on the basis of previous recessions – perhaps a testament to the policy decisions taken at an early stage in the recession.

This month’s special analysis focuses on child poverty not least in the light of the potential impact of the recession on the government’s 1998 commitment to end child poverty by 2020 – to which all the major parties are now committed. Recent progress has been poor and it looks likely that the 2010 milestone of halving the 1998-99 level of child poverty will be be met. However, taxes and benefits do substantially reduce poverty levels and are also a powerful force to reducing levels of inequality – it is unlikely that as much progress as had been made during the 1990s would have been achieved under a government less concerned with harnessing the tax and benefit system towards such aims.

Protecting the real value of benefits, to say nothing of ensuring that they are not reduced in absolute terms, has a key role to play in ensuring that the amount of relative poverty, as well as income inequality, does not become worse during a recession or in the subsequent recovery period.

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Written by Calvin

03/11/2009 at 6:01 pm

Posted in Economic trends

Tagged with , ,

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