Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

TUC publishes thirteenth Recession Report

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The latest in the TUC’s series of reports on the recession – Moving towards a fragile recovery – is now up on ToUChstone.

Nicola Smith’s blog post is so titled given that falls in employment are showing signs of pausing while there may be some sign of a recovery in employment levels. Nevertheless, the labour market remains fragile:

– employment levels are still falling for young people under 24

– long-term unemployment is still rising

– there is a rising number of people in employment who are in more insecure forms of it – in temporary or part-time work. A proportion of this will be involuntary based on an inability to find fixed, full-time work. Earlier this year, the TUC suggested that one in nine part-time workers were involuntary, although current figures quoted in this report indicate a level rising to over 13%, while the proportion of involuntary temporary workers has risen to nearly one-third. This would be a natural development in a recession (while the proportion of involuntary temporary workers will be rising at this time of year anyway) and the increasing rates would seem to show that the recession (at least, in the labour market) has some course yet to run. The rise in part-time employment in the UK is also higher than the EU average.

This month’s special focus is on international comparisons and shows two main developments:

– the UK employment rate (69.6%) remains around five percentage points higher than the average rate across the EU, although the decline in the rate is, at two percentage points, also 0.1 points higher than the average. (The drop in the UK employment rate is actually the fifth largest, behind Ireland, Spain, Finland and Portugal.)

– schemes for short-time working remain more prevalent in other OECD economies and the UK spending on active labour market measures remains both small and well below the OECD average.

The report concludes that the UK performance during the downturn has been ‘average’. Certainly, it is close to the average figure on key labour market measures – a sign of the integration of the UK labour market with that of the rest of the EU and also an achievement given that the downturn in the UK has been sharper, and has lasted longer, than in many other countries. Thus it is likely that the government has indeed got some things right in all this. As the TUC warned earlier this week, the danger now lies in premature action to close the deficit and in stopping the stimulus package, thus choking off what fragile signs of recovery there already are.

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Written by Calvin

26/11/2009 at 6:01 pm

Posted in Economic trends

Tagged with ,

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