Job seekers are outnumbering vacancies advertised in Jobcentres by 20 to one in parts of the country, according to unions.
Ahead of new unemployment statistics to be published tomorrow, which are expected to reveal that two million people are now out of work, the TUC has revealed that on average there are 10 jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) claimants for every Jobcentre vacancy across the UK. In parts of the country the jobs outlook is far bleaker, with 25 local authorities registering at least 20 JSA claimants per vacancy.
The worst hit area is the Isle of Wight, with a claimant-to-vacancy ratio of 60:1. The area has suffered from the decline of manufacturing and tourism, its two main industries.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Rising unemployment, which we expect to hit two million later this week, has been matched by an equally shocking decline in job vacancies. The government can no longer claim there is plenty of work available when there are as many as twenty dole claimants per Jobcentre vacancy in parts of the country.”
The TUC calculated the number of JSA claimants per Jobcentre vacancy in every local authority and region across the UK using January’s unemployment statistics. Its analysis found that the number of claimants per vacancy has more than doubled in the past year, from 4:1 in January 2008 to 10:1 in January 2009.
Unemployment has already rocketed to 1.97m, according to the Office for National Statistics. Barber called for the government to introduce short-term wage subsidies, invest in growth areas such as creative and green industries and increase JSA before the budget increase, expected in April, to save thousands of jobs and prevent further financial hardship.
A TUC statement said: “The government must now accept that unemployment is a national emergency and use all possible means to stem further job losses, create new jobs and provide greater financial help to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of the their own.”