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Jobless figures ‘show female recession is under way’

Women account for more than three-quarters of the fall in employment in the latest set of jobs figures showing a female jobs recession may be under way, according to figures published today.

Figures published today cover the September-November quarter and show unemployment rose to 2.5 million.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, most of the women who have lost their jobs are economically inactive rather than registered as unemployed. It says the number of ‘workless women’ in the UK – those economically inactive who say they want a job plus those unemployed and actively seeking work – now stands at 2.36 million.

“This remains below the equivalent figure for men of almost 2.5 million, but the gap is set to narrow with cuts in public sector employment likely to fall far more heavily on women than men,” says Dr John Philpott, Chief Economic Adviser at the CiPD.

“A large quarterly fall of 59,000 in the number of women employees in part-time employment is a clear sign that a ‘female jobs recession’ is already underway.”

The news comes as two county councils announce plans to cut up to 2,000 jobs.

Hampshire County Council says it will cut about 1,200 jobs in a bid to save £55m for 2011/12 and Norfolk County Council said it plans to axe about 1,000 jobs in the next year. It hopes to save £7m by cutting senior management posts and implementing a recruitment freeze. Another £10m could be saved by renegotiating contracts.