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Saturday 20th of February 2010
February 17, 2010    

UK unemployment continues to slow

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by Kay Murchie

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today revealed that UK unemployment fell slightly in the three months to December to 2.46 million.

However, the unemployment rate remains the same at 7.8%, according to the ONS.

In the meantime, the number of Britons claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) rose by 23,500 in January to 1.64 million - the largest increase since July 2009.

Meanwhile, youth unemployment fell in the three month period, down to 923,000 from 936,000 - analysts have recently raised concerns that unemployment among 16-24-year-olds could exceed one million in the short-term.

The Government recently unveiled a £1.5 billion pledge to ensure that no 16-to-24-year old is out of work for more than six months.

In related news, a recent report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that nearly one in three public sector employers planning to axe jobs this quarter.

Despite the UK emerging from recession in the fourth quarter of 2009, the CIPD said its survey revealed the jobs market was “still on the ropes”.

Its survey of over 700 employers revealed that firms in all sectors plan to shed 6.2% of their workforce in the first quarter of the year, against 3.8% in the previous quarter.

In the public sector, defence and public administration look set to be hit particularly hard.

However, there was positive news from the private sector, which expects to see headcount increase for the first time since the onset of the recession.

John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the CIPD, comments: “Despite the jobs market proving resilient in recent months, this represents a mere pause for breath with the number of redundancies easing in the private sector and spending cuts yet to be felt by large swathes of the public sector.”

He continues: “Unfortunately, there are more testing rounds ahead. Alongside the spectre of deep public spending cuts, the private sector will be dealing with ongoing concerns about productivity, wage costs and inflation.”

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