UK unemployment jumps to 2.67 million
Published by Julien Tremblin for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government
UK unemployment hits 17-year high at 2.67 million
UK unemployment jumped by 48,000 in the quarter to December reaching a jobless rate of 8.4 per cent, the worst figure since the end of 1995.
A total of 2.67 million people are now unemployed in the country. Meanwhile, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose by 6,900 in January to 1.6 million, the 11th consecutive monthly increase.
The number of women claiming the allowance also increased by 1,500 last month to 531,700 - the highest figure since the summer of 1995.
A record number of people are working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs - up by 83,000 over the latest quarter to 1.35 million.
Other data from the Office for National Statistics showed a 22,000 increase in youth unemployment with 1.04 million 16 to 24 year olds out of work.
However, the 48,000 increase in unemployment was the smallest quarterly rise since last summer.
Despite the bleak figures, the Department for Work and Pensions sees a “stabilising labour market”, as witnessed in the rise in employment and vacancies.
Employment increased by 60,000 to 29 million, mainly due to a significant rise of 90,000 in the number of part-time employees to 6.6 million.
The number of job vacancies also increased by 11,000 in recent months to 476,000, although this was 21,000 down on a year ago.
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said: "The latest figures show some encouraging signs of stability despite the challenging economic climate. With more people in employment and a rise in vacancies it is clear the private sector is still creating jobs.
“However, we are not complacent. With more people in the labour market we know that competition for those jobs is tough and we will continue to make it our priority to find people work."
Labour has blamed the Government for creating a “jobless generation”, calling on ministers “to get a grip”.
Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “This Government is creating a jobless generation, with more young people out of work than ever before.
“Today’s figures make for grim reading for the millions of squeezed families desperate for good news on the economy. With unemployment at its highest rate since 1995 and long term youth unemployment doubling in the last year, ministers must now get a grip.
“It is painfully clear that the Government’s welfare to work programmes are not doing the job and the time for dithering is over - complacent ministers must act now before a generation is left scarred by their failure.
“They should adopt Labour’s five point plan for jobs immediately, including a tax on bankers’ bonuses to fund 100,000 much needed jobs for our young people.”
Trade Union GMB has condemned the austerity measures for the role they play in rising unemployment.
General secretary Paul Kenny said: “As it is clear that austerity and deflation as a policy is not working it is surprising and shocking that there are so few demands from Tory back benches, from the CBI, from the City and from the Liberal and Labour Parties that the policy be abandoned in favour of sure fire ways of getting people back to work.
“So widespread is support for this failed orthodoxy that some Labour Groups on councils, at the behest of the leadership, are supporting deflationary pay policies for their own staff. It is just not possible to deflate your way to growth.”
Other figures published today show the average pay increased by 2% in the year to December, unchanged from the previous month. However, in the public sector it fell by 0.2% to 1.7%, the lowest figure since records began in 2001.
There were 1.39 million days lost through industrial disputes in the year to last December, the highest figure since 2002. Around 164,000 workers were made redundant or took voluntary redundancy in the final quarter of last year, up by 17,000 from the three months to September.