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Unemployment rises rapidly

The latest unemployment figures show a steep rise

A crowd of people milling about.

There was more evidence that the credit crunch is continuing to bite with bad news on the jobs front yesterday when it was announced that unemployment had increased by 164,000 to its worst level since 1999.

A total of 1.79 million people were out of work in the quarter to August, an unemployment rate of 5.7%, up by 0.5% over the quarter and the highest since the spring of 2000.

The trend is likely to continue upwards as the growing number of failing companies leads to more people finding themselves out of work, and those companies continuing to operate trim their staffing levels.

The quarterly increase in the number of people out of work, including those not eligible for benefit, was the highest since the summer of 1991, when it jumped by 186,000.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance increased by 31,800 in September to 939,900, the eighth consecutive monthly rise and the highest figure for almost two years. The total has now risen by 104,900 over the past year.

Employment levels fall

Employment levels have also slumped – down by 122,000 in the latest quarter to 29.4 million, the biggest three-monthly fall since 1993.

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics also showed a 46,000 drop in the number of manufacturing jobs to a record low of 2.87 million.

Other figures also confirmed fears that the economic slowdown is now hitting jobs and employment prospects.

A total of 147,000 people were made redundant in the three months to August, an increase of 28,000 on the previous quarter.

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