UK unemployment hits record high

UK unemployment rose by 49,000 to
almost 2.5 million in the three months to the end of November, the Office for
National Statistics (ONS) has said.

One in five 16 to 24-year-olds are
now out of work, after a rise of 32,000 to 951,000 without jobs, the highest
figure since records began in 1992.

Despite the rise, the unemployment
rate in the UK remained unchanged at 7.9 per cent.

Prime Minister David Cameron said
any rise in unemployment was a “huge concern”.

He added that there were some
“very disappointing” figures, particularly on youth unemployment.

Labour leader Ed Miliband accused
Mr Cameron of “complacency”.

Male unemployment increased by
43,000 in the three months to the end of November to reach 1.48 million, while
female unemployment rose by 6,000 to 1.02 million. There were 157,000
redundancies, up by 14,000.

Most analysts, as well as the
government, expect the unemployment total to continue rising, in large part due
to the spending cuts designed to cut the budget deficit.

“At the headline level, [the
jobless data] is fairly predictable,” said Ross Walker at RBS Financial
Markets.

“There is no significant
change going on but there is a sense that the labour market is not showing any
surge in activity a year into recovery. The underlying picture is still fairly
subdued.”

The British Chamber of Commerce was
equally downbeat.

“These figures are disappointing
and once again slightly worse than expected,” said the group’s chief
economist David Kern.

Mr Kern re-iterated his forecast
that unemployment would rise by 100,000 to 2.6 million over the next year.

The number of employees and
self-employed people working part-time because they could not find a full-time
job increased by 26,000 to reach 1.16 million, the highest figure since
comparable records began in 1992.

The demographic hit hardest by the
tough jobs market was 16-24 year olds, with the unemployment rate in this age
group hitting 20.3 per cent.

BUZUKunemploymentSTORY

Unemployment is still likely to rise this year, due to lacklustre economic growth and increasing job losses in the public sector.
Photo: guardian.co.uk
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