'Underemployment Cover-Up Is a Big Government Fiddle' ONE MILLION PART-T TIMERS R WANT TO GO FULL-TIME

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Byline: DAVIDA WILLIAMSON david.williamson@walesonline.co.uk

MORE than one in 10 people in Wales a has been a victim of "underemployment" and denied the chance to boost their earnings by working more hours, according to a major report from leading economists published today. a The share of the population that is underemployed rose from 6.8% of the Welsh workforce in 2008 to 11.3% in 2012. The report, co-authored by acclaimed economist David Blanchflower,r found Wales a is the UK region with the "largest net balance of desired longer hours".

The authors also found young people across the UK have been even harder hit by the post-2008 downturn than the jobless figures indicate: "Underemployment is particularly concentrated among the young, where unemployment rates are close to 20%. In 2012, 30% of those aged 16 to 24 that did have jobs wished to work longer hours.

"This means that the labour market for the young is even more difficult than the raw unemployment rates imply." y Peter Hain, former Labour Secretary of State for both Wales a and Work and Pensions, said: "[The] ultimate government fiddle of employment data is the great underemployment cover-up. r Surveys show that over one million part-time workers in Britain want to go full-time but employers cannot afford to offer them more shifts or hours.

The Labour Neath MP added: "In Wales a [from] 2005-2008 (pre-recession) there were, on average, 86,000 underemployed workers, representing a fairly f standard underemployment rate of 6.5% of the working age population. But in the past three years, 2009-2012, there were an average of 134,000 underemployed workers in Wales, a an underemployment rate of 10.3%.

"So one in 10 Welsh workers are being thwarted from working as much as they wish - often thwarted from bringing themselves above the benefits threshold. There simply are no extra hours in the Welsh economy for people to work the fuller week they want to."

He said underemployed workers earned on average PS7. …