Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Budget 2010: Unemployment

Unemployment

Unemployment began to rise sharply as the recession began in the first half of 2008.

It reached a peak of 2.49 million at the end of 2009, equivalent to 7.9% of the population.

THE UK ECONOMY IN GRAPHICS

That put unemployment at its highest level since the recession of the early 1990s, when it reached more than three million.

Since the end of the recession unemployment has fallen, however, and now totals 2.45 million.

In the Budget, the chancellor sought to take the credit for that, arguing that government action had prevented jobless figures from hitting the heights seen in previous recessions.

Earlier, dire forecasts of three million unemployed appear to have been off the mark, but that does not mean the problem of high unemployment is over.

Analysts agree that the outlook for unemployment still looks uncertain, and will depend on the strength of the economic recovery.



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