Pace of unemployment starts to ease
Unemployment appears to be easing, with the jobless rate between June and September rising at its slowest pace since May 2008.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that a further 30,000 people found themselves out of work during the period, taking the total to 2.461 million. This left the jobless rate unchanged at 7.8% - beating expectations for a rise to 8%.
In contrast, the number of people in work actually rose by 6,000 to 27 million during the three months, the first increase since July 2008 – mainly due to more people taking up part-time employment.
The figures also showed that the number of people claiming jobless benefits climbed by its smallest amount for 18 months. This showed a 12,900 rise – well below forecasts for an increase of 20,000 – to hit 1.64 million in October.
However, economists warn the improvement may be temporary. Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, says: “Despite the improved latest labour market data, the suspicion remains that modest job shedding will persist for some time to come. Even if the economy does finally return to growth in the fourth quarter as seems probable, activity is still unlikely to be strong enough in 2010 to prevent further net job losses.”
Just one day before the figures were released, Lloyds Banking Group announced it is making a whopping 5,000 redundancies.
And Susan Barclay, head of marketing at Scottish Provident, says the threat of unemployment is still very much a reality for people in the UK.
“Our latest consumer research with Ipsos MORI shows that 58% of those questioned who are in full-time employment believe that losing their job is a major concern these days,” she adds.