Unemployment in UK continues to rise

Unemployment in the UK has risen again, with the number of people in work falling and the number of benefits claimants rising, official statistics have shown.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics found the number of people in employment dropped by 122,000 over the last three months. In the three months to August, the unemployment rate jumped to 5.7%, with the number of jobless up 164,000 in the last quarter to 1.79m.

The number of people who claim unemployment benefits but are actively seeking work jumped by 31,800 since September to 939,900, up nearly 10% on last year’s figures. Meanwhile, vacancies dropped by 40,000 places to 608,000 from the previous quarter.

Work and pensions secretary James Purnell said: “These are uncertain times and the clear message I want to send to people is that there is help out there if the worst happens and they find themselves unemployed.”

Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC, said: “This is extremely bad news, and these figures do not even show the effects of the bank crash. After years of taking reasonably full employment for granted, we are now in for grim times. This is the next big challenge for government.”

Last week, the government revealed emergency plans to deal with impending job losses because of the economic crisis.

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