Debt problems may be worst for long-term jobless

Those who have been out of work the longest could be facing the biggest difficulties with debt, not least as they are the one group for whom the emplo…

Those who have been out of work the longest could be facing the biggest difficulties with debt, not least as they are the one group for whom the employment picture appears to be getting gloomier.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics out today (June 15th) revealed plenty in the way of good news for the three months to April. During this time, the number of unemployed fell by 88,000 – the greatest decrease in 11 years.

Better still for those focusing on the issue of youth unemployment, it was this group who enjoyed most of the benefit, with 79,000 fewer jobless 16 to 24-year olds. While this tally still stacked up at 895,000, it was the lowest for two years.

And for those who have been out of work for over 12 months it got better too – with this figure dipping by 16,000 to 829,000.

However, for those spending two or more years out of work, the trend was bucked, as this group increased in size by 39,000 to 385,000.

For people in this group, the chance of having savings to fall back on is inevitably diminished, as the longer period of time out of work means they are more likely to have been used up. So where there are debts, paying them off will have got harder. And some, of course, may have had little or nothing put away to fall back on to begin with.

There may be another way in which the economy recovery is jobless for some. A Trades Union Congress analysis of the job market published before today’s figures indicated the north is actually seeing a fall in employment, while other parts experience improvement. For those in areas where unemployment is generally high, more debt help may be needed.

By James Francis

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