Can good news become overfamiliar? That’s what it feels like with the labour market statistics sometimes. Even though today’s feature The Biggest Ever Quarterly Rise in Employment™, the story is largely the same as before: employment levels are up, the claimant count is down, but look out for the squeeze on people’s wages, etc, etc. I feel like I’ve blogged that stuff a thousand times before.
But today’s figures do stand out for another reason: they confirm, more than any other recent data, a trend back towards full-time employment. Of the 280,000 extra jobs that were created since the last quarter, 221,000 were full-time and only 59,000 were part-time. If you’d rather see that in pictorial form, there’s an at-a-glance graph on page 7 of the Office for National Statistics’ official release.
It wasn’t always like this – which is why I call it a trend back towards full-time employment. I’ve put together a different graph from the ONS’s, below, to show the cumulative change in employment levels since the last election. Roughly three-quarters of all employment growth since then is now accounted for by full-time employment. That’s much stronger than in 2012…
…and it’s also in line with the overall proportions of full-time and part-time workers in the workforce.
George Osborne will, no doubt, feel soundly vindicated by this. A year or so ago, Treasury types defended the employment figures by saying that part-time work would give way to full-time work as the economy started motoring. There’s now some proof that this is happening.