Jobless total at highest level since recession


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Unemployment has risen sharply, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. The 80,000 increase in the number of people without jobs in the three months to June was the biggest rise since August 2009, when Britain was still in recession.

Some 2.51 million people are now unemployed, representing 7.9 per cent of the total workforce. Youth unemployment rose by 78,000 to 973,000. Almost a fifth of 16- to 24-year-olds are now out of work. The number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose by 20,400 in August and stands at 1.58 million. And the numbers working part time because of a shortage of full-time positions also increased to 1.28 million, the highest level since 1992. Public-sector employment fell by 110,000 over the three months, the largest fall since comparable records began in 1999.

The Coalition's growth expectations are predicated on public-sector job losses being offset by new jobs created by the private sector. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast in March that public-sector employment will fall by 400,000 by 2015, but that 1.3 million new private jobs will be created. But this large number of public-sector job losses in just three months and the fact that only 41,000 new private jobs were created over the same period casts doubt on the OBR's forecast.

Nida Ali, an economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club, said: "The OBR may have underestimated the number of job cuts required to achieve the desired level of spending cuts."