UK unemployment hits 2.64 million

14 December 2011

UK unemployment rose by 128,000 to 2.64 million people in the three months to October, the highest number since 1994.

The unemployment rate is now 8.3%, up 0.4% from the three months to July, according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics. This marks the highest rate in 15 years.

Meanwhile, youth unemployment has hit another high, with 22% of 16 to 24 year olds out of work, the highest level since 1992. The number of youths out of work increased by 54,000 over the quarter to reach 1.03 million.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose 3,000 over the month to reach 1.6 million in November.

Public sector job cuts took their toll on their figures, as employment in the sector fell by 67,000 in the three months to September to reach 5.99 million, the lowest figure since September 2003. By contrast, the number of people employed in the private sector increased by just 5,000 over the quarter to reach 23.12 million.


Daniel Callaghan, director of consulting firm, comments that there was a "grim sense of inevitability" about the unemployment figures.

He adds: "Once again, young people are feeling the force of the downturn more than most – more than a million are now unemployed. And the government's hope that the private sector would ride to the rescue of those being made redundant by the public sector is fading fast."

Richard Driver, currency analyst at Caxton FX, says he believes conditions in the labour markets will "continue to deteriorate" in 2012.

"Government austerity measures are taking their toll on employment numbers and will continue to do so for many months to come," he says.

'The private sector is failing to pick up the slack left by private sector cuts and the picture for UK youth employment is looking very poor, with the figure alarmingly up at 20%."

Driver adds that the risks of the UK dipping into recession again next year are "ever-increasing" and the "employment numbers do little to indicate otherwise". He adds: "UK households will remain under pressure next year and circumstances are likely to worsen before they improve."

This article was written for our sister website Money Observer


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