Economy: UK Unemployment Highest in 17 years

2.57 million British people are now unemployed

2.57 million British people are now unemployed

According to official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), unemployment in the UK increased by 114,000 between June and August. A total of 2.57 million people are now unemployed.

The rate is now 8.1%, the highest it has been in 17 years, says the ONS.

Stark statistics

The number of people claiming unemployment’s benefits rose 17,500 to 1.6 million in September.

Younger workers were hardest hit, as the total of unemployed people aged 16 to 24 totalled a record 991,000 in the same period, making youth unemployment come in at a staggering 21.3%.

Other figures showed that the number of part-time workers fell as well, down by 175,000. There was also a reduction of working over-65s by 74,000.

Employment Secretary Chris Grayling said that the UK is weathering “the impact of the international financial crisis.”

As a result of the crisis, the Bank of England is set to pump in a further £75 billion into the economy in an attempt to boost business growth. However, the Bank’s chief economist, Spencer Dale, said he expected the economy to get steadily worse through this year.

Opposition statements

Secretary Grayling emphasized that the government’s deficit-cutting measures are in place to build commercial confidence and entice businesses to come to the UK.

However, Labour leader Ed Miliband spoke out against the current government’s plans: “the prime minister justified his economic policy by saying unemployment would fall this year, next year and the year after. Isn’t it time he admitted his plan isn’t working?”

Prime Minister David Cameron has brushed off his critics and vowed to stick to his plans to cut the deficit.

In a statement, he said that the unemployment figures are “very disappointing” and that the government “is going to do everything it possibly can to help get people into work.”

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