Page last updated at 23:12 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 00:12 UK

UK job cuts affect 'two in three'

Jobcentre screen
Most people know someone who has lost their job

Two-thirds of people across the UK know someone who has lost a job in the recession, a BBC survey suggests.

And four in 10 fear losing their job in the current climate, the survey of 1,048 people by ComRes indicates.

But while concerns about employment may be increasing, most people believe the worst may be over - despite believing the economic situation remains tough.

While 34% think things will worsen, 52% hold the view that the economy will not improve for a while yet.

A further 12% hold the optimistic view that things are improving.

The BBC commissioned the survey to mark its Taking The Pulse day, which is looking at how the recession is taking effect across the country.

However, when looking at people's attitudes across age and social groups, older and less wealthy people are more pessimistic.

Just 12% of people aged 65 and over expect their finances to improve over the coming year, compared with 36% of 18 to 24-year-olds.

Jobs fallout

Another key trend highlighted by the survey is the widespread effect of recent job losses - across all age, regional and social groups.

In total, 67% of respondents said they knew someone personally who had been made unemployed.

Worst affected were the people of Northern Ireland, where a huge 87% of people knew someone who had been axed from their post. Least affected was the North of England where just 60% knew someone hit by unemployment.

Worried about work graph

Unsurprisingly, 69% of people said it would be very damaging financially - for them or their household - if they were to lose their job. The group most concerned about such an eventuality was the 25-34 age group, with 88% voicing such fears.

The only group that seemed relatively unconcerned was the people aged 65 and over, with just 35% worried about the potential fall-out from job losses.

Concern about finances also appears to have percolated through to affect other aspects of people's behaviour.

Consumer concerns

Overall shopping habits have changed markedly, with 75% of those polled simply trying to spend less, 63% buying less on impulse than before and 51% less inclined to use a credit card or overdraft.

A further 46% try to put more money aside into savings, highlighting the fact that the public's love affair with debt culture may be coming to an end.

Spending with caution graph

When it comes to the UK government, 50% of people believe it is likely to continue to rely on borrowing to balance its books.

Many of those quizzed (31%) also say any recovery, when it starts, will be down to the coordinated actions of governments across the world. Just 21% believed it was down to the British government's measures.

And while many people believe the worst is over, they are still keeping an eye out for those green shoots of recovery.

The key signs the public will be looking for are people spending more in the shops (70%), a rise in house prices (69%) and a rise in share prices (68%).

Views of recession graph

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