Unemployment hits 17-year high in the UK

The Office for National Statistics now sets the jobless rate at 8.3%, up from 7.9% in the last quarter. That's 2.64 million people out of work.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
In the last three months, another 128,000 people have lost their jobs or been unable to find work. It’s the highest jobless rate since current records began in 1992.

As a result of austerity measures, the public sector has been among the hardest hit with 67,000 job losses. The private sector hasn’t been picking up the slack either, creating just 5,000 new jobs over the same period.

If this wasn’t alarming enough, youth unemployment just keeps on climbing. In the last three months to November, the number of 16-24-year-olds out of work hit 22%, up from 20.8% in the preceding quarter.

Nevertheless, Jobseeker’s Allowance claims are up by just 3,000, far less than the 15,000 anticipated by economists. The ONS has also slashed it’s predictions for the December claimant count from 5,300 to 2,500. It seems that people aren’t working but aren’t relying on the state either.

There is now a total of 29.11 million people gamefully employed in this country, 63,000 less than in the last quarter. And the future doesn’t look much rosier either. The government’s plans to create 250,000 extra work experience places over the next three years for young people – around 100,000 in total each year - still won’t affect the majority of Britain’s jobless youth.

Looking on the bright side, employment Minister Chris Grayling says: ‘These latest figures show some signs that the labour market is stabilising.’ Sure they do, Chris. Youth unemployment is perhaps the most serious societal problem we will face over the coming months, and it takes a lot more than smooth words to do something about it.

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