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Jobless total threatens to break three million mark

Further job losses across the UK are on the way, and the number of unemployed is expected to push close to three million by year's end, according to a new report.

A survey of 1,000 employers, conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, found employment growth in manufacturing was set to stall, and fewer jobs were being created in the service sector.

The CIPD report said the impending redundancies were mostly accounted for by a drop in confidence in the private sector, which the Government had hoped would generate enough jobs to compensate for cuts in the public sector.

"Whereas employers were in wait-and-see mode three months ago, more private sector firms, particularly among private sector services firms, have decided to push the redundancy button in response to worsening economic news," said Gerwyn Davies, CIPD public policy adviser.

"This will exert yet more pressure on a jobs market that is buckling under the strains of contractions in economic growth and public sector employment." The CIPD said the findings reinforced its prediction that the total number of jobless could reach 2.85 million by the end of the year.

Unemployment rose to 2.68 million last month, with new figures to be published by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday expected to show a further increase.

Employers identified access to finance and a shortage of skilled workers as among the barriers to hiring.

"With many employers telling us that access to finance has been a big factor in preventing them from creating new jobs over the last two years, and with net private sector hiring intentions now on the slide, the labour market case for government action to increase the availability of credit to businesses is stronger than ever," Mr Davies said.