Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The number of unemployed hit 1.92 million last month - the highest level since April 1999.

The number of people out of work is at its highest level for nearly a decade, official figures show.

The number of unemployed hit 1.92 million last month - the highest level since April 1999.

The UK unemployment rate is now 6.1% and is likely to hit two million next month following a spate of job cuts since the start of the year.

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance in December also increased by 77,900 to 1.16 million, said the Office for National Statistics.

The monthly benefit claimant increase was the second highest since 1991, and the claimant count has now increased for 11 months in a row, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Around 225,000 people became redundant in the quarter to November, up by 78,000 on the previous three months and the highest figure since comparable records began in 1995.

The number of job vacancies fell by 69,000 in the last three months of 2008 to 530,000.

That is the lowest figure since records began in 2001.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This is another set of terrible figures, and it is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.

"Government must stretch every sinew to get the economy moving again."

he statistics will make dismal reading for the Government who are already warning that worse may well be yet to come.

"The broad picture isn't a good one," admitted work and pensions minister Tony McNulty.

"I've been as candid as I can with people in saying that I don't think we have reached the bottom yet either," he said.

Hundreds of jobs have been cut from the economy since Christmas.

The Earnst and Young Item club, a forecasting group, has predicted unemployment in the UK will hit 3.4 million by 2011.

Some looking for work have complained that job centres do not do enough to help.

Matt Harris has been unemployed for three months after a Nottinghamshire manufacturer laid him off.

He said he has not applied for any jobs because there are none that require his skills.