Record rise in unemployment More than 2 million people are now out of work

19 March 2009

Crowded shopping street

Photo Credit: Alex Segre/Rex Features

Unemployment has topped the two million mark for the first time since Labour came to power in 1997 and now stands at 2.03 million. 

The Office of National Statistics has also revealed that 138,000 people began claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in February alone, boosting the total to 1.39 million - the highest monthly rise since records began. An estimated 640,000 people are also unemployed but not eligible for the allowance.

Job losses in the construction and financial sectors are largely to blame, with an increase in redundancies from the services sector expected to add to the problem. Economists predict that unemployment will reach 3.3 million, or 10% of the workforce before the recession abates. 

Gordon Brown told Parliament: 'Any person who loses their job, or is in fear of losing their job, is a matter of personal regret for me and the whole government. I do not regard unemployment as a statistic; I regard it as one person, a second person and a third person who needs our help. That is why we will do everything we can to help people get back into work.'

Which? Legal Service, which offers unlimited access to professional legal advice over the phone, covers employment. If you’re worried about redundancy or other issues, such as bullying or discrimination, get in touch.

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