Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Part-time Britain hits record high as unemployment soars to 2.5 million

Britain's economic recovery hopes were dashed today as official figures showed unemployment rose by 38,000 in the three months to June to 2.49m and the number of people working part-time because they could not find full-time jobs surged to a new record high.

The number of people claiming jobless benefits also surged 37,100 last month to 1.56m - the largest monthly increase since May 2009, the Office for National Statistics said.

The figures cast doubt over the private sector being able to pick up the slack from public sector job losses and deal a further blow to UK growth prospects.

The statistics also point to further misery for Britain's young people: youth unemployment rose by 15,000 over the quarter to reach 949,000, or 20.2pc of 16-24 year olds. The "worrying" figures come on the eve of thousands of young people receiving their A-level results and entering the jobs market for the first time.

However, the number of people in work rose by 25,000 on the quarter to reach 2.97m. But the jump was partly due to more people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job - some 83,000 more people had no chioce but to take part-time work, reaching 1.26m on the quarter - the highest figure since records began.

The unemployment rate was 7.9pc and there were 9.3m economically inactive people aged between 16 to 64, the figures showed. (more)