Richard writes for Left Foot Forward on labour markets; he is the TUC’s senior policy officer, covering social security, tax credits and labour market issues - including the debates about the European social model and labour market flexibility.
There are more jobs, but the pay is lower, your chances of being underemployed are higher, your risk of losing your job is higher, and if you do become unemployed your chances of getting a job are lower.
This month’s labour market statistics continue the same pattern we have seen in recent months: small improvements in overall employment and unemployment but youth unemployment and long-term unemployment not going anywhere much.
Today’s employment figures include a couple of headlines the government will be grateful for and what seems like an improvement on the pay front. But when you look at the labour market from a slightly longer perspective, the picture is less brilliant.
Today’s figures (covering November to January) have people wondering if the labour market may be running out of road. The key figure in today’s release is for pay. Average weekly earnings for regular pay (3 month average) in January were just 1.2 per cent higher than they had been a year earlier – the fifth successive fall in the annual rate of increase.