THE number of people classed as under-employed, including part-timers wanting a full-time job, has increased by a million since the start of the economic downturn in 2008, new figures showed today.

A total of 3.05 million workers were under-employed, with almost two-thirds in part-time jobs, said the Office for National Statistics.

The number of under-employed workers was fairly stable in the run-up to the recession in 2008 but has since leapt by almost half, the figures showed.

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Occupations with the highest number of under-employed workers included cleaners, caterers and labourers.

The highest under-employment rates were in the North-East, Yorkshire and Humber, the East Midlands and the South West, where more than ten per cent of workers wanted to work more hours.

The biggest increase in under-employment in recent years has been in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Regions with high under-employment rates had above-average numbers of part-time and young workers, as well as more low-skilled employees.

The average under-employed worker earned 7.49 an hour, more than 3 less than someone who was not under-employed, said the ONS.

More than one in five of workers aged 16-24 were under-employed this year, compared with ten per cent of those aged 35-49.