Labour Research September 2009


Unemployment hits 14-year high

Unemployment is at its highest level for 14 years, according to the latest official figures.

Under the Labour Force Survey count, unemployment rose by 220,000 to 2.44 million in the three months to June. It was last higher in the third quarter 1995.

The unemployment rate in the second quarter of the year rose to 7.8% from 7.1% the previous quarter.

The number of unemployed men rose by 157,000 to 1.49 million and the unemployment rate was up to 8.8%. For women, numbers rose by 63,000 to 942,000 and the rate rose to 6.6%.

Young workers have been particularly hard hit and the 17.2% unemployment rate for workers aged 18-24 is its highest level since December 1993.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the figures show “we are still some way off recovery”.

“With over one in six young people out of work, unemployment is already at crisis level. The government must do more to get people back into work, otherwise we risk losing another generation of young people to mass unemployment,” he said.

Unemployment under the claimant count, which only includes those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, posted a monthly increase of 24,900 to 1.58 million in July. It is now at its highest level since Labour came to power in May 1997.