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Unemployment hits 14-year high of 2.47m as one in five young people are now jobless


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Unemployment hits 14-year high of 2.47m as one in five young people are now jobless



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 3:26 PM on 16th September 2009




Unemployment has jumped to its highest level since 1995 as Britain's recession continued to bite.

The number of people out of work rose by 210,000 to 2.47 million in the three months to July, official figures showed today.

The recession's impact on young people was underlined by jobless totals among 16-24-year-olds reaching 947,000 - the highest level since ONS records began in 1992.

The jobless rate among this age group is a record 19.7 per cent, meaning one in five is looking for work.


Enlarge article-1213796-05B85751000005DC-849_468x266.jpg Soaring: Despite talk of economic green shoots, unemployment continues to rise


At the same time, the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance rose by 24,400 to 1.61 million in August - the highest since May 1997 and the 18th monthly rise in a row, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The unemployment rate is now 7.9 per cent, up 0.7 per cent on the previous three months and the highest since November 1996.


The number of economically inactive people also rose to its highest point since ONS records began in 1971, at 7.99 million. The employment rate was 72.5 per cent, the lowest level for more than 12 years.






The economy has recently shown signs of shaking off the slump. Services expanded at the fastest pace in almost two years in August. The British Chambers of Commerce cut its estimate for unemployment this month, estimating it will peak at 3 million people in 2010 rather than 3.2 million people.

David Kern, chief economist at the BCC, said: 'Although the increase in unemployment was marginally smaller than feared, the figures are consistent with our assessment that the jobless total will rise to over three million next year.

'Employment continues to fall, and without an increase in the number of people deemed economically inactive, the increase in unemployment would have been much larger. There is a clear need for measures that limit job losses and help businesses keep hold of skilled staff.


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'The fall in average earnings shows that inflationary pressures, whatever the long-term risks, are not a short-term concern.

'The earnings figures, which show much higher increases in the public sector, demonstrate that private businesses and workers are making most of the sacrifices during this downturn.'

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: 'More workers, particularly young workers, are paying a devastating price for the bankers' recession and there is some way to go before unemployment stops rising.

'Yesterday the Tories threatened 10,000 jobs secured on building the aircraft carriers in Fife, Glasgow and Portsmouth and other parts of the UK.

'We need to be clear with the electorate - the Tory plan to cut public spending will stall an economic recovery and add to the dole queues. It is madness and must be opposed.'

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: 'There are now over a million people out of work for more than six months, more than one in three of them under 25. There are no signs of recovery here.

'This is not the time to take risks with policies that could make unemployment worse. It might look rosier in City dealing rooms but out in the real world unemployment is the number one issue.'

Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite, said the figures showed that the recession was 'far from over'.

He said: 'Gordon Brown has charted a steady course through these troubled times and a break from Labour would shatter any fragile recovery.

'The Government's help for young people and new apprenticeships shows that Labour is committed to supporting jobs.'

Sean Figg, of campaign group Youth Fight for Jobs, said: 'Youth unemployment has reached 947,000. Job losses continue, and the prospect of getting another dims.

'Gordon Brown and David Cameron are calling for massive cuts in public spending - this will clearly have an impact on young people, especially those unlucky enough to be unemployed.'

Unemployment has now risen by 743,000 over the year as a whole and looks on course to pass the three million mark next year as the impact of the recession feeds through to rising dole queues.

Vacancies were down 12,000 to 434,000 on the quarter and in the suffering manufacturing sector, the number of jobs has fallen to 2.65 million in the three months to July - the lowest since comparable ONS records began in 1978.

The contrasting impact of recession on the public and private sectors was also shown by the 13,000 rise in public sector employees to 6.04 million in the quarter to June.

This contrasts with a 230,000 fall in private sector workers to 22.85 million over the same period, the ONS said.

For the public sector, average annual pay growth including bonuses was 3.4 per cent in July - almost three times the 1.2 per cent seen in the private sector and double the 1.7 per cent growth overall.

Unemployment in the regions between May and July was:

Region Total unemployed Change on quarter Unemployment rate

North East 116,000 +13,000 9.4%

North West 293,000 +12,000 8.6%

Yorks/Humb 235,000 +24,000 8.9%

East Mids 171,000 -2,000 7.3%

West Mids 282,000 +33,000 10.5%

East 200,000 +20,000 6.7%

London 371,000 +42,000 9.2%

South East 264,000 +20,000 6%

South West 182,000 +26,000 6.7%

Wales 116,000 +7,000 8.1%

Scotland 187,000 +11,000 7%


N Ireland 53,000 +4,000 6.7%

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People are really underestimating the effect this recession is going to have on young people who aren't able to find work. Getting a job when you're a teen teaches you many skills, including how to be independent, manage your own money, and develop interpersonal skills.

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