Dismal data on UK unemployment rates

Latest official unemployment figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) paint a rather dismal picture:

  • The headline unemployment rate (on the ILO definition) stood at 7.9% over the three-month period from April to June 2011, up by 0.1 percentage point when compared with the previous rolling three-month period (7.8%).
  • The number of unemployed women hit a 23-year high. ONS says: “The number of unemployed women increased by 21,000 on the quarter to reach 1.05 million, the highest figure since the three months to May 1988.”
  • The number of people unemployed for up to six months was 1.23 million over the three months to June 2011, representing an increase of 66,000 on the quarter. ONS comments: “This is the largest quarterly increase in this series since the three months to June 2009.”
  • The youth unemployment rate was 20.2% in June 2011, up by 0.2 percentage points from 20.0% in the previous rolling quarter.
  • ONS reports that “The number of employees and self-employed people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 83,000 on the quarter to reach 1.26 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.” This is the second consecutive month in which this measure has registered an unwelcome record high.

Looking ahead, further rises in unemployment rates would appear to be in prospect, according to reports from both the CBI and NIESR.

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