One Million Forced To Work Part-Time

(Telegraph) – ALMOST A MILLION PEOPLE are being forced to work part-time because they cannot get a full-time job, according to official figures that shed light on the hidden cost of the recession for thousands of families.

In the past year more than 250,000 extra people who would like to be in full-time employment have found themselves working four days a week or fewer, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This is an increase of more than a third on the previous year, and illustrates the extent to which companies are trying to cope with the downturn by reducing staff hours, rather than just laying them off.

The latest statistics indicate that, between March and May this year, a record 927,000 individuals were working fewer than 30 hours a week because they could not find a full-time job, a rise of 38% on last year. The figures include new employees who have been hired on a part-time basis and existing staff who have been offered reduced hours. Separate figures released last week showed that unemployment had jumped to 2.38 million, with economists predicting it was inevitable that the total would exceed three million, matching the job crises of the early-1990s and 1980s.

This time round, however, the rise in unemployment has been accompanied by more dramatic changes in the labour market, with hundreds of thousands cutting their hours and pay in an attempt to hold on to their jobs.

Others are working well beyond retirement age because their pension pots have suffered from dramatic falls in the stock market.

Economists said that many more businesses were looking to restructure their workforce in similar ways, and expect further announcements later this year.

Corin Taylor, the head of policy at the Institute of Directors, said: ‘This recession has been marked by employers being very flexible. They are very keen to hold on to good people, even if that means freezing or cutting pay. And that has to be a good thing.

‘But it does suggest that we are in a far more severe employment downturn than the headline jobless figures suggest.’

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