30 July 2015
TUC analysis of Labour Force Survey (LFS) data from the ONS had found that the official figures used by government vastly underestimate the number of women seeking work.
The TUC points out that the headline unemployment count is misleading, because it only counts those who have recently applied for a job and are available to start immediately. The “want work” category is more indicative, it adds to the unemployment count those who say they want work, but who have not recently applied for a job, or whose circumstances do not allow an immediate job start.
The latter category is likely to include a large number of women, who are often carers – women account for 92 percent of single parents.
While the headline unemployment figure has fallen by more than 800,000 over the last three years, the number of economically inactive people who want work has remained relatively constant – dropping only from 2,371,000 to 2,298,000.
While the unemployment rate is higher for men, it is the reverse for the measure of economically inactive people who are seeking work. The unemployment rate for men is 990,000 and 815,000 women. However, there are 1,379,000 economically inactive women seeking work, compared to just 920,000 men.
The ‘want work’ level – the combination of the unemployment count and economically inactive people seeking work – is 4,103,000 people. Of this, 2,194,000 are women, and 1,910,000 are men – a difference of 284,000.
Commenting on the figures, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said; “Six years on from the recession, the culture of low expectations on jobs and pay is well past its sell-by date. Reducing the claimant count alone is not good enough if there is still an additional two million people who want a job but don’t have one.
“The government should be especially concerned about the lack of progress for women with caring responsibilities who want to work. There are nearly 300,000 more women looking for work than men, and the gap is not closing.
“Given the number of women who work in public services, there’s a big danger that cuts due to be announced in November will mean major job losses, along with a reduction in family friendly job vacancies and a further rise in the number of women seeking work.”
Last week we reported that the that around 54,000 women in Britain are losing their jobs in every year upon having children.