OECD predicts rise in UK joblessness

THE UK and Japan will be the only countries in the leading Group of Seven to suffer an increase in unemployment this year, according to new forecasts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Its annual Employment Outlook foresees Britain's jobless rate climbing above the OECD average in 2000, although remaining well below the double- digit French and German rates. A rise of 300,000 in two years in the numbers out of work would take the UK unemployment rate (on the international definition) to 7.3 per cent from 6.2 per cent now.

The report forecasts that around 35 million people will be unemployed throughout the OECD for the next two years, but with wide variations between countries. The US unemployment rate will remain low at 4.4 per cent in 2000, in contrast to 10.8 per cent in France and 11.9 per cent in Italy.