UK jobless figures to rise

Crucial new figures will show whether the Government’s investment in keeping young people off the dole was paying off or whether recent encouraging signs were just a “blip”, said union leaders.

The TUC said it will be studying the jobless figures for any signs that unemployment may be beginning to improve.

Total unemployment is expected to increase again, to around 2.5 million, but the TUC said it will be studying the data to see how many young people are out of work.

Young people have been the “big losers” in this recession, said the TUC, with an unemployment rate for people aged 18-24 at 18.4%, far higher than the 6.3% rate for those aged 24-49 or 4.5% for the over 50s.

The number of unemployed 18-24 year olds has been rising in recent months, and the TUC warned that another increase over 10,000 would indicate that it will be a long time before the youth recession ends.

Figures for the number of people out of work for longer than a year will also be studied followed a recent easing in the rate at which long-term unemployment has been growing.

The TUC said it was hoping for an increase of 10,000 or less in today’s figures.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell for the first time last month, and the TUC said another cut in the claimant count would be an encouraging sign.

General secretary Brendan Barber said: “The mixed signals in December’s unemployment figures showed the economy was still on a knife edge. Today’s figures will be a key indication of whether the encouraging signs in last month’s statistics were just a blip or a sign that Government investment to help people off the dole and stimulate the economy is really paying off.

“Even if the figures are improving, for every person struggling to get work, this recession remains a personal tragedy. This is no time for complacency while many – particularly the young – are still out of work.”

Source: Press Association

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