Unemployment hits 17 year high

Unemployment hit a 17 year high in the three months to August, the latest statistics have shown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the figures, which show the unemployment rate was at 8.1 per cent, making a total of 2.57 million unemployed people.

The quarterly increase of 114,000 people has been described as ‘horrific’ by Dr John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personell and Development (CIPD). He said:

“These labour market figures are truly horrific, with the economy shedding almost 15,000 jobs each week between June and August. The quarterly rise in unemployment is reminiscent of an economy in recession rather than any kind of recovery and confirms that the private sector just isn’t creating enough jobs at present to offset public sector job cuts.

“With 5.6 unemployed people for every job vacancy the labour market is back to where it was in the depths of recession in 2009 and the underlying problem is getting even worse given that 1 in 3 unemployed people have now been without work for over a year.”

The number of 16 to 24 year olds out of work is now at its highest level since 1992, demonstrating how important it is for the Government to do more to support businesses to grow and employ more staff.

Commenting, Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: 

“Today’s unemployment numbers make grim reading, especially for our young people. The continuing rise in youth unemployment is a grave concern for us all.

“Businesses are still creating jobs and only continuing private sector growth can help us out of the current tumult. With jobs falling in the public sector, it’s vital the Government does everything it can to support businesses to grow and create jobs, and help young people get into work.”