#10 Read the new unemployment statistics

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Bonus post!

Although this week’s How to Be… has already been posted (see ‘Don’t watch daytime TV’), it would be remiss for this blog to let today’s quarterly unemployment figures pass without comment.

You’ll already have read about them via reputable news sources. And if not, the ONS report is here.

In brief, the big numbers are:

2.46 m people unemployed in UK (only 30,000 new unemployed this quarter! The smallest quarterly increases since March-May 2008, though little consolation for those 30,000)

21.26 m number of people in full-time employment, down by 80,000

7.66 m number of people in part-time employment, up 86,000 and a record high

1 in 5 young 18-24 year olds out of work, the highest figure since 1992

1.31 m number of people unemployed for up to six months, down  99,000

618,000 number of people unemployed for more than 12 months, up 71,000 and the highest it’s been since 1997

428,000 number of vacancies in the three months to October 2009, the lowest figure since records for this series began in 2001

The scary graphs look like this:


It must feel like a terrible time to be a graduate. Talking to work experiences, and reading the many testimonies in the media at the moment, many are understandably disillusioned, having spent years studying their arses off to get their A*s and university places. They are also terrified by their unwieldy debts. (Personally I graduated in similar circumstances, hitting what I had imagined from my northern base to be the fashionable, champagne-swilling aspiration city of The Face, Capital City and the Easy Like Sunday Morning ad  just as the 90s recession hit London big time.)

On the plus side, all those graduates being exploited by endless work experience and internships should take heart from the fact that they are probably being given the sorts of responsibilities that would, in more affluent times, normally have gone to the more experienced staff who have been made redundant. If they can stick with it, financially as well as psychologically, then their 30-year-old selves may even look back on it as career/character building.

It’s also  a bad time to be a Londoner, according to the Standard, which reports that one in five London homes has no adult at all in work.

And the record high of long-term unemployment, where the novelty and redundancy payment have worn off, is positively bleak.

However, it may, for once, be a good time to be a working parent. Any trend towards part-time employment seems healthy, especially or anyone who aspires to having some sort of life/interests outside the relentless long hours, long commute culture of full-time employment. I’ve recently encountered a number of companies cutting costs by introducing a nine-day fortnight, which sounds like a win-win situation.

But, of course, these figures ignore those of us who are not officially UN-employed but SELF-employed. Technically working professionals, but without any actual paid work. All of the journalists now in enforced freelancing (welcome to the fold ex-London Paper and London Lite staffers) but lacking commissions; the actors, directors and other casualised creatives who are at home watching daytime TV rather than making it; the independent producers and business people who can’t get anyone to buy their wares or services.

Big Merv announced today that GDP is on the turn, but with the caveat that it would be 2011 before we’re back up to where we were in 2007. Which can’t be so good for those of us in the business of selling ourselves.

  1. Awful, I agree. I graduated in ’91 and hit the same circumstances in Scotland and I honestly don’t think my career path ever recovered. Then again, rather than pitching into my profession and doing it all my working life, I did have a very diverse couple of years when I was basically doing whatever I could get to stay afloat. I look back on that time with fondness because I had a lot of fun but then again I also remember the feelings of desperation,worrying that I had missed the boat, and worrying that I would have to go back home to mum and dad if I couldn’t raise the rent.

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