Spotlight on the wages and unemployment collections in the TUC Library


As a mixture of data was published this week of an encouraging fall in unemployment but also the first fall in real wages since 2009, issues of the economy, living standards and the labour market dominate public debate and will continue to do so in the run up to the next General Election.

The TUC Library contains one of the the most extensive collections of labour marketĀ  data in the country. As can be seen from the photo below, our pamphlet collection on unemployment dates from 1902 and contains both national data and also material on local unemployment broken down by geographical area. We also have material on the history of Jobcentres and public campaigns and demonstrations around the issue of unemployment.

Just a small section of the library’s collections on the subject of unemployment

The library also contains a vast collection of material on the subject of wages and remuneration. The material is from sources such as the TUC, the Low Pay Commission, the Incomes Data Service (IDS), the Labour Party, government departments and think tanks, etc. The question of the relationship between workers and “political economy” was proposed for discussion at the very first TUC congress in 1868 as can be seen here, and the library has been collecting material on the subject ever since. The collection covers wages and living standards, payment systems, incomes policy and campaigns for a National Minimum Wage and a Living Wage.

A selection of recent material on the subject of wages and pay

If you’d like to know more about what the library has on these subjects, get in touch:, 020 7133 3726.


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