Latest UK jobs market figures

The latest UK jobs market figures make grim reading, especially when considering young people new in the jobs market.  The overall unemployment rate has ticked up to 8.0% (from 7.9%) in the three months to January (the claimant count fell in February).  The number of people unemployed aged 16 to 24 is 972,000, the highest since records began in 1992, an unemployment rate amongst young people of 20.6% (again, the highest since 1992).  At the other end of the spectrum, the number of people over 65 in employment is 900,000 (highest since 1992).  Recessions make it difficult for those with little work experience to find work.  That is why targeted help is required because otherwise the nation loses out, in addition to the individual benefit that would be received by a pro-active government.  Unfortunately the Tory/Liberal government seems to have little idea how important this is, even in purely economic terms.

Bonuses inflated total pay growth but without that the increase in regular pay was 2.2% pa (three month average to January 2011), down from 2.3%.  The public sector still saw wage growth, at 2.5%, ahead of the private sector at 2.1% (both excluding bonuses).
  The overall picture from this monthly snapshot is essentially that little has changed. 

The OECD downgraded its forecast for UK growth in its latest outlook.  It remains supportive of the current austerity measures and states that the outlook for jobs is that 'Unemployment is expected to remain above historical averages over the coming two years, with low-skilled workers and youth particularly hard hit.'  The resignation inherent in these words is clear.  We need an alternative.

Stephen Beer, 17/03/2011

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