Unemployment in the UK will reach three million by Christmas, economists have warned.
Researchers at consultancy firm Capital Economics have predicted the three million milestone will be reached earlier than expected, with unemployment rates hitting 3.5 million during 2010 and not falling again until 2011.
Official figures to be released on Wednesday are expected to show 2.5 million are currently out of work – the highest rate since 1994.
Vicky Redwood, consumer and debt specialist at the research consultancy, said: “Retail and service sector job losses are pushing up the total and we expect the public sector to follow afterwards. At the moment, unemployment is continuing to broaden out.”
This week’s official employment statistics are also expected to reveal youth unemployment topped one million last month.
In July, official figures showed unemployment had risen to 2.38 million in the three months to May – a record increase of 281,000.