Job losses in the UK are at a 16-year high

Jan 20, 2012 12:00 AM

Unemployment in the UK rose to the highest rate in 16 years in the quarter ending November, with 1,300 people a day being thrown on the mercy of the exchequer's dole.
The just-released data from the UK office for national statistics showed the deep recessionary concerns amid the euro zone crisis. Prime Minister David Cameron's budget cuts have further dampened consumer confidence.

The unemployment rate, calculated on the basis of the United Nations International Labour Organisation's methods, rose to 8.4 %, the highest since January 1996, from 8.1 % in the three months through August.
The number of people claiming jobless benefits rose for a 10th month to 1.6 mm, the most since January 2010. More job cuts are likely in the coming years, the ILO report foresees.

''This is a huge priority for us,'' employment minister Chris Grayling told.
''Unemployment is much too high. There's no question about that. We are taking what measures we can in extraordinarily difficult times.''

While the UK economy grew at the fastest pace in a year in the third quarter, the Bank of England has said expansion will weaken in the following quarters.
Unemployment is rising fastest in Scotland and northern England. Young people are the hardest hit, with the number of those under 24 growing by 52,000 to 1.04 mm -- the highest since records began in 1992 and more than double the number a year ago. Women also continued to suffer as a result of Chancellor George Osborne's economic plans, with the number of women unemployed reaching a 23-year high of 1.128 mm.

The prime minister's Downing Street office claimed that most people looking for work were ''successful''. But the figures showed that there are more than 34 people chasing every job vacancy.
The data also revealed a sharp rise in part-time jobs as people struggle to find full-time positions. The number of people working part-time or for themselves shot up by 75,000 to 1.3 mm, the highest for 20 years.

Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said the government was ''complacent and out of touch''.
"In America, Germany and Japan unemployment is either flat or falling. This is new proof that the government must change course,'' he said.

Reports quoting economic experts said the figures showed the UK was probably already in recession.
They also said Osborne's publicly expressed belief that the private sector would make up for jobs lost in the public sector had proved unfounded.

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