Labour Research June 2009


Jobless rise is biggest since 1981

Unemployment posted its biggest rise since 1981, according to the latest figures. Under the Labour Force Survey (LFS) count, unemployment rose by 244,000 to 2.22 million in the first quarter of 2009 against 1.97 million in the last quarter of 2008.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber expects the figure to pass the 2.5 million mark by summer.

He said: “Some people in the City are already talking of recovery. But the only recovery in the real world will be when unemployment starts to fall.”

The increase in jobless numbers helped push the unemployment rate up to 7.1%, up from 6.3%.

The LFS count includes people who are looking for work but who are not eligible for benefits, and is the government’s preferred measure.

The number of jobless men rose by 155,000 to 1.34 million and their unemployment rate was up to 7.8% from 6.9%. Among women, meanwhile, unemployment rose by 89,000 to 880,000 and their unemployment rate went up to 6.1% from 5.5%.

The dole queues were longer, as the number of claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance broke through the one-and-a-half million barrier. The claimant count rose by 57,100 to number 1.51 million in April and the unemployment rate was up to 4.7% from 4.5% the previous month.