Think Tanks
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Three years of ‘2 million plus’ unemployment with worse to come

Think tank calls for ‘job guarantee’ for long-term jobless

Ahead of official figures for UK unemployment that are published on Wednesday, the think tank IPPR is highlighting the three year anniversary of unemployment breaking the 2 million mark. This week’s figures are expected to show the 8th consecutive month of rising unemployment. IPPR argues that is not just bad for news for people out of work but also for the supply side of the UK economy.

IPPR analysis shows that unemployment has risen by a million since the recession began. There are also 600,000 more people working part-time who say they want to work full-time, compared to three years ago. Overall, UK unemployment is at the highest level since 1994 (at 2.68 million).

·         Overall, 857,000 people have been unemployed for more than a year - almost a third of all jobseekers

  • Of those, 247,000 young people (aged 16-24) have been unemployed for more than a year
  • More than a million (1,043,000) young people (aged 16-24) are now unemployed, the highest since comparable records began in 1992, and a rise of 51,000 from the last quarter
  • 432,000 people over 50 are now unemployed, up 48,000 on the quarter
  • More than 40 per cent of unemployed over fifties have been out of work for more than a year, up 23,000 to182,000
  • More than a million women (1,128,000) are now unemployed, the highest for 23 years

·         Of those, over a quarter of women (301,000) have been unemployed for more than a year

·         Private sector jobs have only risen by 5,000 but cuts in public sector employment, for the same period are 67,000 in the latest quarter (June to September)

IPPR North analysis shows the number of unemployed people compared to a year ago is:

·         up 25 per cent in the North East (31,000 more people unemployed)

·         up 16.9 per cent in the North West (44,000 more people unemployed)

·         up 11.6 per cent in Yorkshire and Humber (23,000 more people unemployed)

Graeme Cooke, IPPR Associate Director, said:

“Every month that goes by, the urgent need for the new ‘Youth Contract’ continues to grows. It is now more than 14 months since the ‘Future Jobs Fund’ stopped giving young people a job guarantee after a year of unemployment.

“The next priority should be areas of the country experiencing the combination of both high unemployment and a low number of vacancies. While the prospects of those over fifty and unemployed for more than a year are also of serious concern.

“The longer someone is unemployed, the less likely they are to ever return to work. Being out of work for more than a year can have a scarring effect, making it harder to get a job as well as having a negative impact on one’s health and well-being. This means that even when employment starts to pick up again, they will find it hard to compete with other jobseekers and could find themselves permanently shut out of the jobs market.

“The government should guarantee everyone who has been unemployed for more than a year a job at the minimum wage in local government or the voluntary sector. But with that right should come the responsibility to take that job or risk losing their benefits.”

Notes to Editors

Latest unemployment figures are available from:

IPPR North’s analysis of areas with high unemployment and low vacancy rates:

IPPR’s report - Making the case for universal childcare – is available to download from:

IPPR’s report – Jobs for the Future: The path back to full employment in the UK - is available from

IPPR’s report – 10 ways to promote growth – is available from

The unemployment rate is:

·         12 per cent in the North East

·         10.1 per cent in Yorkshire and Humber

·         9.9 per cent in London

·         9.2 per cent in the West Midlands

·         8.9 per cent in the North West

·         8.3 per cent in the East Midlands

·         7.2 per cent in the East

·         6.5 per cent in the South West

·         6.4 per cent in the South East


Richard Darlington, 07525 481 602,

Tim Finch, 07595 920899,


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