New research reveals groups most affected by recession

Young people, those living in deprived areas and men have suffered the biggest rises in unemployment

17 June 2009

Press Release

Young people, those living in deprived areas and men have suffered the biggest rises in unemployment in the recession so far, according to a new report jointly published today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Department for Work and Pensions and the Government Equalities Office.

The report reveals that 16.2 per cent - or one in six - of 18-24 year olds are currently unemployed, compared to 12 per cent the same for the same period last year.

Unemployment rates in deprived areas have risen to 11.3 per cent from 8.7 per cent for 2008, and whilst deprived areas usually have higher unemployment rates, the last 12 months have seen a larger rise than for the overall population.
The unemployment rate for men has risen by 2.4 per cent to 8.1 per cent in the year to March 2009. The employment rate for men, that is the number of men in work, is at the lowest level for a decade, falling by 1.7 per cent since last year to 77 per cent.

The report, 'Monitoring the impact of the recession on various demographic groups', covers the first quarter of 2009 and looks at the impact of the recession across groups by age, gender, race and disability. It finds that the number of people in paid work fell by 295,000 year-on-year and that there are 31.3 million ‘workforce jobs’ in the UK, down by 284,000 year-on-year.

The report also shows that with the UK’s labour market now less segregated than in the early Nineties women, who now make up a greater proportion of the workforce, are no longer as sheltered from the impact of recession. The report reveals that women’s unemployment has risen by 1.4 per cent to 6.4 per cent. Employment rates among ethnic minorities, disabled people and older people have remained relatively stable. Support measures for lone parents wanting to get into employment also appear to be working with a slight rise in employment rates for that group.

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

“The outcomes of previous recessions tell us that we must act now to ensure that the impact of this downturn on some groups does not inhibit our ability to grab the opportunities of recovery when they come. The attention at the outset may have been focused on the revolving doors of the nation’s investment banks, but it is once again groups from across society that are being hit hardest by the recession.

What the data in this report tells us is that, at this stage of the recession, young people, men and those in deprived areas are suffering the greatest impact. We must remember, though, that this report is just a snapshot and that the effects of the downturn could easily spread. The challenge will be not simply to see people through the harsh effects of unemployment, but to endow everyone with the right skills to survive on the other side. The labour market of the 21st century is more diverse, more global and - most importantly - more competitive. The UK needs to prepare urgently to meet those challenges.”

Ends

For more information contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission Media Office on 02031170255, out of hours 07767272818.

Notes to editors:

The report is jointly published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Government Equalities Office.

For a full copy of the report please call the Press Office