UK unemployment up to 2.51 million

| September 14, 2011
”UK

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today revealed UK unemployment rose sharply in the three months to July – the biggest rise in almost two years.

The ONS said unemployment rose by 80,000 in the three month period to 2.51 million – far higher than the 70,000 expected by economists.

The latest figures take the unemployment rate to 7.9% – however, this was in line with forecasts.

In comparison, unemployment in the US stands at 9.1%, Japan’s unemployment rate is 4.7%, while in the euro zone, it is 10%.

Youth unemployment also grew sharply, by 78,000 to 973,000.

Meanwhile, the number of Britons claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) rose for the fourth consecutive month in August, by 20,300, to 1.58 million – however, this was slightly less than forecasts.

Average earnings, meanwhile, rose by 2.8% between May and July, up by 0.1% over the previous month, with weekly wages now averaging £464.

The number of people in employment in the economy fell by 69,000 in the three month period to 29.17 million – the biggest drop since March 2010, according to the ONS.

Furthermore, the public sector workforce fell by 111,000 in the three months to June – the largest fall since records began.

However, an increase in private sector employment of 41,000 partially offset the drop.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling described them an “unwelcome set of figures”.

The figures suggest the labour market is coming under immense pressure from public spending cuts.

The spending cuts have been described as the biggest for decades; however, Chancellor George Osborne has deemed them necessary in order to bring the budget deficit down.

Some experts have even suggested they could push the economy back into recession.

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