More bad news came this week with the publication by the ONS of the official UK unemployment statistics, which saw the largest 3-month rise for two years. The 3-month unemployment rate to July (2011) increased to 7.9% of the economically active population, up 0.3%. This represents an increase of 80,000 over the quarter, with the total unemployed now standing at 2.51 million. Women seem to have been particularly affected, with female unemployment reaching 1.06 million, the highest figure for 23 years. Women claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) increased by 8,100 to 519,200, the highest figure since January 1996.
In terms of unemployment by age, the worst affected group are the 18 – 24 year olds, with 0.77 million unemployed. Not unexpectedly, the public sector bore the brunt of job cuts, with employment falling by 111,000 in the last three months – the largest fall since quarterly records began. Expect more public sector job losses as the spending cuts begin the bite. Shrinking public sector employment was only marginally offset by growth in private sector employment of 41,000. Part-time employment rose to 1.28 million, the highest figure for 20 years.