UK/East of England: Under-employment ‘stubbornly high’
06:00 03 September 2014
More people than ever are looking for extra working hours to make ends meet amid a huge increase in under-employment, according to a new report.
The TUC said 3.4 million people were under employed, an increase of almost 100,000 over the last two years and over a million higher than before the recession.
The East of England has seen the second largest rise in underemployment at 25%, it said.
The number of people working part-time because they can not find full-time work, or who want more hours in their contract, has increased for employees and the self-employed, said the report.
Unemployment has fallen by 400,000 since 2012, but the TUC said since the coalition came to power in 2010, under-employment has increased by 432,000 and shows little sign of slowing.
Northern Ireland has seen the biggest rise since the last election, at 37%, followed by the East of England (25%), Wales (21%) and the North West (18%).
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Ministers have made much of the improving jobs figures as a sign that all is now well with the economy, but although unemployment is falling, there are still nearly 3.4 million people who would like to be working more hours than they are.
“With more jobs being created, you’d expect that under-employment would be on the wane too, but sadly with part-time, temporary, low-paid jobs often the only work that people can get, under employment remains stubbornly high and is still rising.
“As the squeeze on pay continues, many people don’t have enough money for everyday essentials, let alone the cash to cover any unexpected emergencies. With no let up in their financial woes in sight, people are understandably looking to take on more hours just to keep the wolf from the door.
“Without a decent pay rise and the creation of more permanent, secure jobs, under-employment is unlikely to fall any time soon.”