May sees biggest ever quarterly rise in unemployment

”May

The Office for National Statistics has today revealed that UK unemployment rose by 281,000 in the three months to May – the biggest quarterly rise on record.

Unemployment in the UK has now reached 2.38 million – the highest since 1995, while the unemployment rate is up to 7.6% – the highest in over a decade.

Meanwhile, the number of people out of work for over a year rose by 46,000 to 528,000 – the highest for 11 years.

TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, described today’s figures as “truly horrendous“.

“It’s particularly worrying that over half a million unemployed people have been out of work for at least a year, including 133,000 young unemployed people,” added Mr Barber.

Young people (under the age of 24) have been badly affected as firms slash jobs in order to cut costs.

Mr Barber recently warned that due to the tens of thousands of school leavers and graduates struggling to find jobs, unemployment could rise significantly.

In the meantime, the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance increased by 23,800 in June to 1.56 million. However, this figure was less than analysts had expected.

Meanwhile, some analysts are warning the number of people out of work could reach 3.2 million by next year.

As a result, leading business groups are urging the Government to take urgent action. A report this week by influential think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), said new sources of growth are needed because the industrial make-up of the economy is changing.

Co-author of the report, Rachel Reeves, said: “As a nation we can no longer rely on banking, retail and the public sector to create the jobs we need.”

“If we are to get Britain back to work, there will have to be large increases in the jobs available in hi-tech manufacturing and private service sectors such as the creative industries. This could happen, but only with the right combination of entrepreneurship and Government action,” added Ms Reeves.

Finally, a survey commissioned by the BBC found 67% of respondents knew someone personally who had been made unemployed.

The survey of 1,048 people by ComRes also found a further 4 in 10 fear losing their job in the current economic climate.

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