Wednesday, 17 October 2012



Unemployment in the UK currently sits at 7.9% of all those economically active, according to figures released by the government today. The figures - utilising the International Labour Organisation definition of unemployment – show the total number of people actively seeking work to be 2,528,000 for the quarter June to August 2012. This represented a fall of 50,000 from the previous quarter.

The government will be keen to emphasise this quarterly improvement in unemployment figures, as well as the 62,000 fall in youth unemployment achieved over the same period. However, of some concern is the number of people unemployed for 12 months or more, which has increased by 13,000 when compared to the last quarter.

The current levels of unemployment across the country are still lower than what was experienced at the height of the recession in the early eighties and again during the John Major’s government in in the early nineties. The number of JSA and benefit claimants is however markedly lower now than in previous recessions. Opposition to the government would be quick to point out that such a fall in the number of benefits claimant is no doubt down to the crippling austerity measures that have formed the mainstay of George Osborne’s economic policy. As the prospect of a triple dip recession looms, the relative lack of state intervention for nation’s unemployed – when compared to earlier recessions – may have an impact on the economy’s ability to drag itself out of the present lugubrious gloom.

Regional unemployment figures showed the North-East to have the highest unemployment rate in the UK at 9.9%. However, it‘s the nation’s capital that’s showing the most worrying signs of regression, with 10,000 more people now looking for work in London when compared to the last quarter. Many believe that the conclusion of the Olympics programme will have had a bearing on this figure.  

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