Unemployment Climbs to Highest Level for 10 Years

The latest employment figures show a substantial increase in the number of people who are unemployed and those claiming Jobseekers Allowance. Redundancies have reached their highest level since at least 1995. Meanwhile the number of people in paid work and the employment rate have both fallen.

According to the Office for National Statistics:

In the three months to November 2008, the total number of people in work fell by 26,000 to 29.39 million, although over the past year it has risen by 25,000. The working age employment rate fell by 0.2 to 74.2% and was down 0.5% on the same period a year ago.

The number of unemployed people rose by 131,000 from the previous 3 months to 1.92 million – and was up 290,000 on the previous year. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4% to 6.1% - and is up 0.9% over the previous year.

The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance benefit in December was 1.16 million – up 77,900 on the revised figure for November and up 349,500 on the year.

The economic inactivity rate for people of working age in 3 months to November 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 30,000 to 7.86 million and was down by 38,000 over the past year.

The number of job vacancies went down by 69,000 in the 3 months to December to 530,000 – and was down by 153,000 compared with the same period last year.

In the 3 months to November, 225,000 people were made redundant in the 3 months prior to their Labour Force Survey interview. This was up 78,000 on the previous 3 months and up 101,500 on the year.

Once again, the number of people over state pension age in work continued to buck the general trend. It went up by 17,000 (+1.3%) in the 3 months to November and at 1.34 million was up by 84,000 (+6.7%) on the previous year.  

The number of people aged 50 to state pension age in paid work rose by 24,000 (+0.4%) in the 3 months to November, 41,000 (+0.6%) higher than the same time last year.

However, unemployment amongst those 50 to state pension age went up by 31,000 (+11.9%) and the numbers claiming Jobseekers Allowance rose by 12,000 to 175,000 (+7.4%) in December.

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