Unemployment Figure Could Be Double, TUC Says
Unemployment could be almost double the headline figure of 2.5 million when groups such as the economically inactive are added, the Trade Union Congress has claimed.
As well as the 2.5 million official jobless figure, a further 2.26 million people want a job, but are not classified as unemployed, the TUC claimed.
A report published ahead of the TUC Congress which opens in Bournemouth on Sunday said wider forms of unemployment should be given the same level of importance in the UK as in the US.
General secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Unemployment may have started to fall in recent months, but we are still in the midst of a job crisis.
"The true scale of unemployment is far bigger than official figures suggest, as nearly five million people say they want work today.
"With a further 1.4 million people only able to find part-time work, despite needing a full-time job to get by, it's clear that our labour market remains far from full healthy.
"We know that the recent fall in unemployment has been driven by short hours, low pay, temporary contracts and jobs that offer no guarantee of paid work at all.
"These types of jobs cannot form the basis for a secure and sustainable economic recovery."
The concerns come as a survey by the Unite union suggested the number of workers on zero hours contracts - under which workers do not know if they have work from one week to the next - could be as high as 5.5 million.
The study, by the social survey company Mass1, suggested that the under 30s are more likely to be on a zero hours contract with half of respondents falling into the 16-30 category.
Unite said the findings also pointed to employers using zero hours contracts to avoid paying holiday pay and sick pay.
General secretary Len McCluskey said: "The government's refusal to address the growing scandal of zero hours contracts is creating a growing sub class of insecure and low paid employment."