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Unemployment at highest level in 11 years
London, Nov 12 (Agencies):
Published on 13 Nov. 2008 12:31 AM IST
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Unemployment has risen to its highest level in 11 years, official figures show. The total number out of work has climbed to 1.825 million - the most since November 1997, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics. The number of unemployed people rose by 140,000 in the three months to September, leaving the unemployment rate up 0.4 per cent to 5.8 per cent. The figures come as another sign of the deterioration of the British economy amid the global financial crisis. They were announced a day after a round of 5,000 job cuts by several household names, including Virgin Media and Yell. Last month’s figures, for the three months to August, saw the unemployment total rise by 164,000 - the biggest increase for 17 years. Economists believe it will continue to rise as Britain looks set to enter a recession. Vicky Redwood, an economist for Capital Economics, said that the true current situation was already much worse than the new figures suggested and estimated that the total would reach 3.3 million by 2010. She said: “It is the tip of the iceberg because the labour market only reacts to change in the economy with a lag of about six months. We have not seen the full effect of the recent slowdown in the economy, let alone the full force of the recession.” Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC, said: “We should never treat these as just statistics. Each will be a very human story, and as it gets harder and harder to find new jobs many will now be facing a huge cut in their weekly income with benefits so low.” Gordon Brown has suggested that the Government may announce tax cuts in an attempt to stimulate the economy back into growth. The Conservatives on Tuesday announced a plan to help companies retain and hire staff. They propose waiving up to £2,500 in a firm’s national insurance contributions if they take on a worker who has been out of work for three months. The ONS figures are based on the International Labour Organisation definition of unemployment, which includes both those claiming out-of-work benefit and those who are not, despite being unemployed.

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