Unemployment: what the experts say
Jobless figures have risen to the highest level since 1994, despite a 27,100 fall in claimants in April 2010.
Unemployment in Britain has risen further beyond the 2.5 million mark and is now the highest in 15 years, according to the Office for National Statistics. At the same time, the ONS reported that the number of people out of work and claiming benefits fell in April by a bigger than expected 27,100 and has now fallen for five out of the last six months. Pay growth was the fastest in almost two years in the three months to March. Here is what economists, business experts and trade union leaders think about the labour market data:
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary
While it failed to feature much in the election campaign, today’s rise shows that unemployment remains a pressing social and economic problem particularly among young people. The first month-on-month rise in the number of people in work since January 2009 offers hope for those looking for jobs, but the steady increase in people out of work for over 12 months is a huge concern. The dole queues have not been as high as they might have been, thanks to action by government, employers and unions, but this cannot be taken for granted.
It would be a huge mistake for the new government to cut support for the unemployed, particularly the Future Jobs Fund, a policy that has prevented unemployment scarring a generation of young people as it did in the 1980s.
John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general
These jobs figures show how fragile the recovery is, and we expect tough labour market conditions to continue for some time. It is notable that those working part-time because they cannot get a full-time job is over 1 million.
John Philpott, chief economic adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
If David Cameron’s incoming coalition government wanted reminding about the economic policy challenge that lies ahead, Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers need look no further than today’s dire official jobs figures. Higher unemployment (including more unemployed young people), fewer people in work (especially full-time work), an increase in redundancies, a fall in job vacancies, and especially a record number of economically inactive people sends out a clear SOS message on the state of the UK labour market…