Unemployment Continuing to Climb


The latest employment figures show that in the last three months of 2008 there were large increases in the number of people unemployed, those claiming Jobseekers Allowance and the number of redundancies.

According to the Office for National Statistics in the 3 months from October to December last year:

The total number of people in work fell by 45,000 to 29.36 million, over the past year it fell by 37,000. The working age employment rate fell by 0.3 to 74.1% and was down 0.7% on the same period a year ago.

The number of unemployed people rose by 146,000 from the previous 3 months to 1.97 million – and was up 369,000 on the previous year. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4% to 6.3% - and is up 1.1% over the previous year.

The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance benefit in January this year was 1.23 million – up 73,800 on the revised figure for December and up 438,100 on the year.

The economic inactivity rate for people of working age in 3 months to December was 20.8% - down 0.1% from the previous 3 months but down 0.2% on the year. The number of economically inactive people of working age was down by 29,000 to 7.86 million and was down by 48,000 over the past year.

The number of job vacancies went down by 76,000 to 530,000 – and was down by 179,000 compared with the same period last year. This was the lowest figure since comparable figures began in 2001.

In the 3 months to December, 259,000 people were made redundant in the 3 months prior to their Labour Force Survey interview. This was up 104,000 on the previous 3 months and up 148,000 on the year. It was the highest figure sine comparable figures began in 1995.

Yet again, the number of people over state pension age in work continued to buck the general trend. It went up by 18,000 (+1.3%) in the 3 months to December to 1.34 million was up by 86,000 (+6.9%) on the previous year.  

The number of people aged 50 to state pension age in paid work rose by 6,000 (+0.1%) , and was up 8,000 (+0.1%) over the same period last year.

However, in the last 3 months of 2008 unemployment amongst those 50 to state pension age went up by 43,000 (+16.4%) and the numbers claiming Jobseekers Allowance rose by 12,100 to 187,300 (+6.9%) in January.


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