13 Apr 2011

Male and female unemployment: how the numbers add up

Campaign groups predicted that women workers would bear the brunt of the government cuts – do today’s figures bear out their fears?

Today’s Office of National Statistics’ labour market statistics bulletin shows that female unemployment went up by 64,000, while male unemployment went down by 69,000.

And the headline employment figures published today show a similar bias in favour of male workers: while male employment increased by 236,000, female employment increased by just 94,000 – a notable difference given that the current labour market consists of 15.6 million men and 13.5 women.

ONS spokesman David Bradbury told Channel 4 News: “Older women and younger women are hit hardest, whilst those aged between 25 and 49 have seen a slight drop.’ For 18-24 year olds, unemployment may have fallen by 0.3 per cent over the last quarter, but it increased by 3.3 per cent over the year. And, while the quarterly change for men and women is similar, there is no annual change in unemployment for men, but an annual increase of 8.3 per cent in women’s unemployment.

Last year the Fawcett Society predicted lthat the spending review and consequent budget would have a detrimental effect on women, particularly in the public sector. The Society’s predictions may have some resonance in today’s figures which show that the number of people in public sector employment had fallen by 45,000 between September and December 2010, while the number of people in private sector employment increased by 77,000 from September 2010.