Experts warn jobless total set to exceed 3m

Unemployment is still on course to soar above three million despite better-than-expected jobless figures, it was warned today.



Official data showed unemployment rising to 2.47 million in the three months to August, an increase of 88,000 on the quarter to May.

But worse lies ahead for the job market with public sector cuts and rising youth unemployment looming, experts warned.

"We think the fiscal squeeze could require around 750,000 job losses in the public sector - meaning that unemployment should easily surpass three million," Capital Economics' Vicky Redwood said.

School leavers and newly-qualified students are also set to enter the worst jobs market in a generation, IHS Global Insight's Howard Archer said.

"Many of the school leavers who cannot get a job will still be unemployed next year when the next batch of school leavers emerge," he added.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed a slight 1,000 fall in the jobless total to 2.469 million in the three months to August - less than the 2.47 million seen during the three months to July - although the ONS warns against comparing overlapping periods for technical reasons.

Unions, politicians and business leaders gave a cautious welcome to the figures while warning against complacency.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the figures gave "some cause for hope" but added: "The jobs crisis has not gone away and the economy remains very fragile."

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance in September increased by 20,800 to 1.63 million - the smallest rise since May 2008, the ONS said.

Further signs that the labour market could be stabilising came from the number of vacancies, which have fallen in every period since April last year. These held firm at 434,000 in the three months to September.

The jobless rate also remained stable month-on-month, at 7.9 per cent - the first time it has stayed the same since since March last year - although it is 0.3 per cent higher than in the three months to May.

Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper said: "Although unemployment isn't as high today as many feared it would be at the time of the Budget, it remains a serious problem which is why we must keep increasing support and advice to get people back into jobs."

Ms Cooper held out the hope that employment may recover more swiftly after the economy returns to growth than in previous recessions at an appearance before MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee today.

"It does look as if the economy is behaving in a different way compared to the early 1990s ... that may mean that there is a shorter gap between the economy starting to grow and unemployment starting to come down."

But opposition politicians highlighted that long-term unemployment had almost doubled to 1.1 million in the past year.

Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman Steve Webb said the issue would be "a devastating legacy" of the recession unless tackled immediately.

"It is only a matter of time before a million young people will be looking for work, yet the Government is still sitting on its hands for 10 months before it offers them help," he said.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Theresa May added: "Labour are now the party of unemployment with two-and-a-half million people unemployed, and one in five young people who can't find a job."

Figures next week are expected to show the economy returning to weak growth between July and September after five quarters of recession, but business groups said the UK was far from out of the woods.

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "A sustainable recovery is not guaranteed. Although confidence is strengthening, businesses are still facing serious pressures ... lending is still too weak, and many are struggling to retain their skills base."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London