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Friday 13th of February 2009
February 11, 2009

UK unemployment edges closer to 2 million mark


by Kay Murchie
”UK

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that UK employment soared to 1.971 million between October and December - the highest level in over a decade.

In addition, the ONS said the number of people receiving Jobseekers Allowance rose by 73,800 to 1.23 million in January - the fastest rate since February 2000. However, this figure was much less than some economists had anticipated but is still the 12th consecutive month that the number of those receiving jobseeker’s allowance has risen.

The ONS now shows the UK’s unemployment rate to be 6.3%, up from 6.1% the previous month.

Fears were mounting that unemployment would hit the two million mark for the October - December period.

However, analysts are predicting that the situation could deteriorate over the next few months since the Bank of England is warning of a deep and long-lasting recession.

Last month, the Ernst & Young Item Club said unemployment in the UK is set to rise to 3.4 million in 2011.

According to Peter Mooney, head of consultancy with Employment Law Advisory Services, “from early in December, the number of firms seeking our help in making redundancies simply exploded.”

Mr Mooney believes the situation will get worse before it gets better. A significant amount of firms have cut staff already this year so a considerable increase in the number of people out of work will be seen in the figures published next month, explains Mr Mooney.

It emerged yesterday that more High Street jobs were at risk as JJB Sports was poised to put its footwear chains into administration. Furthermore, Stylo, the owner of the Barratts and PriceLess shoe chain, warned over 5,000 jobs were at risk unless creditors backed a rescue plan.

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