in the level of employment
cyclical nature of the British economy is shown in the chart below. It shows
the annual changes in total employment using data from the Labour Force
the last two recessions we have seen severe cut-backs in employment levels
throughout the economy. This had led to high unemployment and posed major
problems for economic policy-makers. However in recent years the performance
of the economy in creating and sustaining a higher level of employment has
improved. Total employment has increased in each of the last six years.
Despite fears of recession last year, the total number of people in paid work
increased by 291,000.
have been the main structural changes in the UK labour market in recent
labour market is continuously evolving and this has implications for
everybody involved in the world of work. Because the nature of the economy
changes, we always expect to see structural change in the pattern of employment in the economy.
of the main long term structural changes in the labour market are as follows:
from manufacturing to services. There
has been a long decline in manufacturing employment in the economy and an
increase in service sector employment. This is part of the process of de-industrialization.
Total manufacturing employment now accounts for less than one-fifth of the
employed labour force. The
underlying reason behind this is the faster growth of output in the service
sector. This trend is shown in the chart below
female employment - noticeably in service industries
of flexible employment patterns
including greater part-time employment and a switch towards short-term
of self-employment - now
over 3,00,000 people registered as self-employed.
term rise in part-time employment
term decline in trade union membership and union density
scale of economic inactivity
- particularly for males over the age of 50, lone parents and people with
UK labour market is a very different animal than twenty years ago. We have
seen the development of a flexible
labour market in which employment patterns change quite quickly - with
important economic and social implications.