Recent figures have shown the UK unemployment rate dropped to 7.7% between May and June from 7.8% in the previous three months. The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in July fell by 32,600 to 1.4 million, its lowest level since February 1992. In recent weeks, David Cameron and George Osborne have boasted about the UK economy “turning a corner”. It seems this statement holds some validity.
When discussing unemployment, we must consider that this is a recovering economy and even the Prime Minister admits this government has “still a long way to go”. The economy is at least moving in the right direction which is good news for the unemployed.
Mark Carney, The governor of the Bank of England has set a target rate of 7% before interests rates are likely to be raised. This is one of the main reasons why the unemployment rate has been brought to everyone’s attention lately. Mr Carney expects this target to be reached within the next three years.
These figures suggest that the jobs market is recovering and we are on track to come down to the target rate of 7%. What they don’t tell us is the worrying stats for youth unemployment and the increase of part-time work which is definitely not the solution.
Youth unemployment (16-24) increased by 15,000 to reach 973,000. The number of people working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job rose to 1.45 million.
Labour often criticise the Coalitions failure to address rising youth unemployment. The Youth Contract was the flagship coalition scheme to get young people back into work however it has missed its target by more than 92% and the amount of benefits being given to young people has risen. Labour has proposed a ‘real jobs guarantee’ which would see all under 25s unemployed for one year offered six months of work. Sound familiar? Critics of Blair and Brown say that job creation lay largely in the public sector and created ‘pointless’ jobs. Youth unemployment according to Clegg rose 40% under Labour. Where Miliband plans to find these placements is unclear, if he plans on working with private companies then it seems awfully similar to the highly criticised work programme which saw claimants having to work at Poundland and Tesco to ensure benefits. If he plans on finding these places in the public sector then he may just be repeating the mistakes of the previous Labour government.