UK performing relatively poorly in Europe’s jobless league table, says CIPD
Although unemployment has risen by far less than expected in the past year, a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) analysis of official Eurostat data finds joblessness in the UK to be relatively high by European Union (EU) standards.
According to the CIPD the UK is no better than a ‘mid table’ performer in the EU league of measured unemployment while also having a relatively high rate of ‘hidden joblessness’.
The CIPD’s analysis of Eurostat figures – which provide comparable statistics for all 27 EU member states for the period to the third quarter of 2009 – shows that:
• While the UK unemployment rate (8% in Q3 2009, see footnote 1) is below the EU average (8.9%), of the other 26 EU member states 13 have higher unemployment rates and 13 lower unemployment rates
• UK performance is particularly poor in relation to male unemployment (9.1% in Q3 2009) with only 8 EU member states with higher male unemployment rates (Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Portugal and Slovakia). However, the situation is exactly the reverse in relation to female unemployment with only 8 EU member states having lower female unemployment rates than the UK (6.7% in Q3 2009)
• The UK does relatively well when it comes to tackling long-term unemployment, with only 8 EU member states having lower proportions of long-term unemployment (of more than 12 months duration) in total unemployment, indicating the beneficial impact of the UK’s approach to welfare to work policy
• However, the UK also has a relatively high rate of what the CIPD defines as ‘hidden joblessness’ (5.9% in Q3 2009) – derived from the Eurostat measure of people of working age who are economically inactive (i.e. not active in the jobs market) but willing to work (see footnote 2). According to Eurostat only 5 EU member states have higher rates of hidden joblessness than the UK (Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Austria and Poland). Overall, the UK accounts for 1 in 7 of Europe’s entire hidden jobless population.
Dr John Philpott, the CIPD’s Chief Economic Adviser comments:
“The UK may draw comfort from having lower measured unemployment than the EU average but in truth we are no better than a mid-table performer in the EU jobless league. Taking ‘hidden joblessness’ into account makes the UK’s relative performance look less impressive still, and once again highlights the scale of the macroeconomic and employment policy challenge that awaits us in the next few years.”
• Data on comparative EU unemployment can be found in table 14 of this Eurostat press release:
• Data on comparative numbers of people economically inactive and willing to work in the EU can be found in table 16 of the this Eurostat press release: