Frances O’Grady says the government must address labour market failures that have left us with too many poor quality jobs

TUC Congress HouseThe number of people who are under-employed will not return to pre-recession levels for more than eight years at the current rate of reduction, according to new analysis published by the TUC today.

The TUC analysis looks at the true scale of the problem by inclusion of all types of under-employment. It looks at how many workers across the economy want more hours in their existing jobs as well as the regularly published measure of the number of workers in part-time jobs who want to work full-time.

The government must address labour market failures that have left us with too many poor quality jobs

There were 2.3 million people under-employed in late 2007. However, under-employment increased rapidly following the recession to reach 3.2 million in late 2010. Between 2010 and late 2013 it increased even further to nearly 3.4 million.

Since late 2013, under-employment has been slowly falling and by late 2014 had reduced by 110,000 people to just over 3.2 million.

However, the TUC analysis has found that if under-employment continues to fall at the same rate as between 2013 and 2014, it will not return to the pre-crisis level of 2.3 million people until early 2023.

The TUC says that even a return to the pre-recession level is not good enough and the UK needs a much lower rate of under-employment. Otherwise levels of in-work poverty will remain high and the economy will fail to achieve its full potential.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Millions of people cannot get the full hours of work they want and all too often it means families end up stuck with poor living standards.

“Under-employment is still much higher than it was before the recession, so we have a long way to go to create enough of the full-time jobs that people want and need.

“We already had too much under-employment before the recession, so we need to reduce it much faster. The government must address labour market failures that have left us with too many poor quality jobs, and not enough decent jobs with full-time hours. We need to make sure that people who want more work have the opportunity to do it.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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