UK Unemployment Figures

UK Unemployment Figures: The number of unemployed soared

Unemployment figures are on the rise, with a 16 year high and women being the hardest hit. This paints a bleak and jaw dropping look at the UK but could there be light at the end of the tunnel?

The figures released by the Office of National Statistics, show unemployment has risen by 27,000 to 2.53 million in the three months to the end of January.

Interestingly, the figures released show the number of British born workers with a job decreased by 208,000 last year. However, this is the opposite of what is happening to foreign born workers with figures jumping by 212,000 last year.

The figures also revealed that two thirds of the 48,000 extra unemployed in the last quarter were women. This may be due to family commitments and rising childcare costs. Young workers have also been hit hard, with over a million aged 16-24 now jobless and nearly 250,000 unemployed for more than a year. Perhaps this is due to a shortage of graduate jobs and apprenticeships schemes that are available.

On a more positive note, we have seen employment increase by 60,000 to 29 million, due to a rise of 90,000 in the number of part time employee’s to 6.6 million. On the face of it however, perhaps in reality this reflects an “anything is better than nothing” attitude. Whilst this is a commendable approach it shows that people are having to accept part time employment when they would perhaps prefer full time.

On the other hand, there are signs of growth, with the number of job vacancies seeing a rise to 476,000 in the three months to January. Following this, economists are suggesting the worsening employment outlook had eased, and perhaps the economy will return to modest growth in the first quarter and avoid recession.

Historically, the UK has seen peaks of unemployment with a high of 11.90% recorded in April 1984 and a record low of 3.40% in December 1973. The previous unemployment rate averaged at 7.22% from 1971 until 2010. The current rate of 8.4% does paint a bleak picture, however historically and with the suggestion of growth there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for everyone.

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