UK unemployment hits 17-year high
The number of unemployed people in Britain hit 2.7 million today, the highest it has been since 1995. This figure includes the increase of 48,000 in the last quarter of 2011.
Other bad news includes statistics indicating that public sector pay rises are the lowest ever recorded, and that London is the second worst-off area in the country, with one in ten people unemployed.
According to official figures, this is the eleventh consecutive month in which jobseeker claims have increased. The total number of claimants has now reached a whopping 1.6 million, with a further 1.6 million working part-time.
Experts are warning that further unemployment and staff cuts should be expected, as businesses continue to lose confidence in the British economy.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a leading think tank, says that women and young workers have been the worst hit in the past year, and, indeed, women make up two thirds of the unemployment rise in the last quarter. The statistics, which show 33,000 more women out of work between October and December, are double the male equivalent of 16,000. Similarly, the number of 16-24 year olds out of work rose by 73,000 in the same period, taking the total for their age group to 1.04 million.