Unemployment sees the biggest rise in two years

· Young people still struggle to find work as the number of unemployed 18-24s creeps closer to the million mark
· Number of unemployed women see biggest rise since 1988
Unemployment has risen again, this time hitting 2.51 million across the UK. The troubling news indicates a worsening of the labour market with the number of unemployed people increasing by 80,000 – the largest increase since the three months to August 2009.
The figures have been published as part of the monthly Labour Market Statistics from the Office of National Statistics. Young people seem to be the biggest casualties this quarter with unemployment in the 18 to 24 age group rising by 77,000 to reach 769,000. The ominous million mark is edging closer as the young are largely unsuccessful in reversing their own fortunes.
Fears about the continuing rise in female unemployment were realised as the figure rose by 41,000 to 1.06 million, in line with the rapid fall in employment in the public sector.
Carmen Watson, managing director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership, said, “The shocking unemployment figures bring into sharp focus the challenges the economy is currently undergoing. It is important to engage both young people and women who seem to be the hardest hit in the latest set of figures. Employers must recognise these groups can add considerable value to their workforce and ultimately help us to become more competitive as a nation on the global stage.
“The public sector has shed a large amount of workers and although the private sector has employed more people, it has been unable to pick up the pieces at a fast enough rate. Women have been disproportionately affected by this and we’re worried that cuts to childcare and benefits will make the situation more difficult in the coming months.”
Carmen added, “Despite the bleak outlook represented in today’s ONS figures, we’re seeing reports that the temporary market remains stable and in certain sectors is showing a slight increase in demand as companies choose to hire a flexible workforce until confidence in the longer term picture is restored. The unemployed workers who have up to date skills and experience required are encouraged to take up temporary employment where possible as this often leads to permanent employment when the market picks up.”