Youth unemployment hits record high

Author: By Alan Jones, Press Association

The number of people out of work increased by 30,000 between July and
September to just under two and a half million.

Other figures showed that the number on jobseeker’s allowance rose by 12,900
in October to 1.64 million, the 20th consecutive monthly increase, giving
the worst total for 12 years.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including those on
long-term sick leave, looking after a relative or who have given up looking
for work, reached a record high of eight million after a 41,000 increase
over the latest quarter.

The inactivity rate is now over 21 per cent of the working age population and
the total is the highest since records began in 1971.

Youth unemployment also continued to rise, with the number of 16 to
24-year-olds up by 15,000 to 943,000, giving a rate of 19.8 per cent, a
record high.

The number of 18 to 24-year-olds out of work rose by 24,000 over the three
months to 746,000, a rate of 18 per cent, the highest since 1992.

There was a small increase of 6,000 in the number of people in work to almost
29 million, the first quarterly rise since the summer of last year.

Full-time employment fell by 80,000 to 21 million, while part-time employment
increased by 86,000 to a record high of 7.6 million.

The quarterly rise in unemployment was the smallest since spring last year.

Other data from the Office for National Statistics showed that job vacancies
fell by 1,000 to 428,000 in the latest quarter, the lowest level since
records began in 2001.

The number of people out of work for longer than a year increased by 71,000 in
the three months to September to reach 618,000, the highest figure for 12
years.

But there was a 99,000 fall in the number of people out of work for longer
than six months.

The 12,900 increase in the claimant count in October was the smallest monthly
rise since April last year.

Average earnings increased by 1.2 per cent in the year to September, down by
0.4 per cent on the previous month.

Excluding bonuses, earnings growth fell by 0.1 per cent to 1.8%, the lowest
since records began in 2001.

The Government welcomed the increase in employment and the slower than
expected rise in the jobless total.

Ministers said the figures showed the Government’s action on the economy was
making a “real difference”.

But they warned that “labour market difficulties” were still
expected to continue for some time to come, with further rises in
unemployment expected next year.

The Government today announced the next 35,000 jobs to be created for the
young and long-term unemployed through the Future Jobs Fund – bringing the
total to 95,000.

Ministers said most of the increase in 16 to 24-year-old unemployment was
accounted for by a 14,000 rise in the number of full-time students who say
they are looking for work.

Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The figures show more
people in work and a lot more young people taking up our offer of full-time
education and training, which is welcome news.

“The fact that unemployment is significantly lower than everyone forecast
at the beginning of the year shows the support for the economy is making a
real difference.

“But we know things are still tough for a lot of families, and
unemployment is expected to increase further next year.

“That’s why we’re determined to do more with an extra 35,000 youth jobs,
more apprenticeships and education places so we can guarantee no young
person gets stuck in long-term unemployment.”

The Government said today’s figures reinforced the fact that the UK labour
market was performing better than most major economies, showing UK
unemployment at 7.8 per cent, compared to an EU average of 9.2 per cent and
lower than 14 other EU countries including France (10 per cent), Ireland (13
per cent) and Spain (19.3 per cent), as well as the US (10.2 per cent) and
Canada (8.6 per cent).

Employment Minister Jim Knight said: “When faced with the worst global
recession since the 1930s, we made a decision to give jobseekers the support
they need, investing £5 billion since last November in creating jobs,
bringing in frontline advisers to Jobcentre Plus and expanding training and
apprenticeships.

“Today’s figures show that while there is still more to do, our
investment is making a real difference to people’s lives and ensuring that
our labour market is performing well compared to other leading economies.”

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “These figures show what
a dismally bleak landscape there is for the jobless and their families as
Christmas approaches, particularly for the young workers struggling to get
into the labour market.

“If, as seems likely, the financial elite who caused this recession and its
attendant havoc resume skimming their multimillion bonuses, anger will boil
over.

“In the forthcoming pre-budget report the Government must not fail to take
pre-emptive action to stop the financial elite adding insult to injury to
those who are paying the price for their recklessness.”

Unemployment in the regions between July and September was:

Region, Total unemployed, Change on quarter, Unemployment rate
North East, 119,000, minus 2,000, 9.5%
North West, 294,000, plus 4,000, 8.6%
Yorkshire/Humber, 227,000, minus 4,000, 8.7%
East Midlands, 173,000, plus 5,000, 7.5%
West Midlands, 270,000, minus 14,000, 10.0%
East, 194,000, no change, 6.5%
London, 367,000, plus 8,000, 9.0%
South East, 265,000, plus 4,000, 6.0%
South West, 176,000, plus 5,000, 6.6%
Wales, 125,000, plus 14,000, 8.7%
Scotland, 194,000, plus 4,000, 7.2%
N Ireland, 58,000, plus 4,000, 7.2%

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