Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 18:29 UK
UK jobless total climbs to 2.4m



Person looking for a job at a Jobcentre Plus computer terminal
There are 2.2 million people unemployed in the UK

Unemployment is rising faster in this recession than at anytime since the 1980s, according to official figures.

Office For National Statistics figures also show that the current recession has hit the West Midlands hardest.

The finance and business services sector has been acutely affected by job losses, suffering the steepest increase since 1978.

Unemployment rates for 18-24 year olds has increased to 16.1%, and men are being more affected than women.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report has analysed changes in the labour market since the current recession started in 2008, looking at its impact on regions, sex, age groups and types of household.

It also compares the course of the current downturn with those of the 1980s and 1990s.

And it warns that in previous recessions, unemployment took about six years to return to pre-recession levels, even after economic growth resumed.

Finance sector hit

One of the unique factors in this recession has been the sectors of the economy that have been affected by the downturn.

In finance and business services sector, comparing year-on-year jobs growth across the downturns, in the 1980s and the 1990s these sectors saw some small growth.

However, in the fourth quarter of 2008 - after the financial crisis - the finance sector saw a 3.3% reduction, or a loss of around 200,000 jobs.

Jobs in distribution, hotels and restaurants also showed a sharp fall in the fourth quarter.

But in contrast, jobs in public sector occupations such as education, health, and public administration were up 2% year-on-year.

West Midlands

The West Midlands has suffered high levels of redundancies combined with large falls in vacancies and high unemployment.

The region has also seen increase in the inactivity rate which suggests that some people are dropping out of the labour market altogether.

The North East, the North West, and Yorkshire all have higher than average unemployment, while the South East, South West and Eastern regions are below the national average.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have lower unemployment than England, but in Wales unemployment is higher, and has also risen more quickly.

Men vs women

Men have been more affected by the current recession than women. The employment rate for men was 1.7 % lower in the three months to March 2009 compared with the same period a year earlier.

The female employment rate was only 0.8% lower on the year.

The report says that the discrepancy may be explained by the greater tendency for men to work in the private sector.

Youth unemployment

Young people have experienced the largest increase in unemployment compared with other age groups.

In the year to March 2009, unemployment rates for 18-24 year olds increased by nearly 4% to 16.1%.

Young people aged 25-34 experienced the highest percentage increase in unemployment levels.

The number of workless households increased by 100,000 in the three months to December 2008 compared with the level seen in 2007.

Graduates were the least likely to be made redundant, while redundancy rates were relatively high for those with no qualifications.



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09 Jun 09 |  Business

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