Children whose fathers lose their jobs suffer “significant” negative impacts on their education and future job prospects, a study by Bristol University academics has found.
On the day that official figures showed unemployment in the South West was 6.1% higher between January and March on the previous quarter, the study showed the effect of job losses during recession on future generations.
The study, led by Professor Paul Gregg, looked at the effect parental job losses during the 1980s recession had on children.
The results showed there was a “significant negative impact” of fathers losing their jobs during the 1980s recession on both the family income and their children’s exam results.
Their children gained the equivalent of half a GCSE grade less than those with fathers who remained in employment. These children looked very similar to the children with fathers who kept their jobs prior to the recession, in terms of their school results. There was also a small negative effect on their early employment experiences.
“At a time of rising unemployment the impact of job loss during a recession on the outcomes of the next generation is highly topical,” said Professor Gregg.
“This research provides strong evidence that this has an intergenerational effect whereby fathers’ job loss has a negative impact on children’s educational attainment and early work experience in the UK.”
The study comes on a day in which the effects of the recession were being felt once again across the region and the UK.
Some 175,000 across the South West were registered as unemployed in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 165,000 in the previous three months.
This bad new was offset by an overall 0.8% fall on the same period a year ago, and a slight fall nationally. The jobless total fell by 45,000 to 2.6 million in the quarter to March, the lowest since last summer, while the number on jobseeker’s allowance last month was down by 13,700 to 1.59 million.
But other figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people unemployed for more than a year increased by 27,000 to 887,000, the worst total since 1996.
Meanwhile, the Bank of England yesterday sharply lifted its inflation forecast and warned of rising mortgage costs, while expressing “surprise” that wages have been so weak.
Sir Mervyn King, the Governor, conceded that “the squeeze on real take home pay is continuing a little longer than we expected” and refused to rule out a third full year of shrinking household incomes.
The Bank expects inflation to remain above 2.5% throughout 2012, almost a full percentage point more than it predicted in February.
Figures released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics showed that average earnings for the year to March rose by just 0.6%.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the unemployment figures were “welcome” news but that the Government was “not remotely complacent”.
Unions attacked the government after the latest results. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The Chancellor has created a part-time, low-pay Britain with his austerity programme – a political path that is increasingly being rejected by other European countries, France being the most prominent example.”