UK unemployment causes concern

Unemployment in the UK increased by
35,000 in the three months to October to 2.5 million, the Office for National
Statistics (ONS) has said.

It is the first time that the
jobless measure has risen for six months.

The surprise increase was driven by
public sector job losses, and pushed the unemployment rate up to 7.9 per cent.

However, the number of people
claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in November fell fractionally, by 1,200 to 1.46
million, the ONS said.

At Prime Minister’s Questions in
parliament, Labour leader Ed Miliband claimed that in light of the latest jobs
data, the government’s claim that the UK economy was out of the danger zone
“rings hollow”.

David Cameron pointed to the fall
in unemployment benefit claimants and a rise in job vacancies, and claimed that
the coalition was about to launch the “biggest back-to-work programme for
70 years”.

The rise in the number of jobless
was almost entirely driven by the public sector, where employment fell 33,000,
according to the ONS’s latest monthly labour market report.

However, the private sector failed
to take up the additional slack, with employment remaining unchanged.

The government is relying on
private sector job creation to offset an estimated 330,000 public sector
redundancies over the next four years due to government austerity measures.


Unemployment breakdown

North East:
124,000 (9.7 per cent), up 6,000

North West:
279,000 (8.1 per cent), up 2,000

244,000 (9.3 per cent), up 1,000

East Midlands:
188,000 (8.2 per cent), up 19,000

West Midlands:
238,000 (8.9 per cent), up 12,000

East: 202,000
(6.7 per cent), down 2,000

London: 376,000
(9.1 per cent), down 4,000

South East:
276,000 (6.2 per cent), up 3,000

South West:
154,000 (5.7 per cent), down 8,000

Wales: 125,000
(8.6 per cent), up 4,000

234,000 (8.7 per cent), down 5,000

N Ireland:
63,000 (7.6 per cent), up 6,000

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