Review of evidence on the impact of economic downturn on disadvantaged groups

This working paper reviews the evidence on the impact of the last three economic recessions on the PSA 8 (indicator 2) disadvantaged groups (that is, disabled people, ethnic minorities, lone parents, people aged 50 and over, the 15 per cent lowest qualified, and those living in the most deprived local authority wards), as well as ex-offenders and the self-employed.

The review was desk-based and used 'informed' rather than systematic methodologies. The context for the review is presented by summarising Office for National Statistics time series data on the labour market covering the recessions in the 1970s, 1908s and 1990s. The impact of previous recessions on vulnerable groups and public attitudes towards unemployment and unemployed people are then discussed.

The impact rising unemployment has had on organisations - such as those providing social care - is also briefly covered. Possible policy options are then presented. Due to the short time scale for the review, it does not claim to be comprehensive.