Unemployment soars to record heights


Retailers could struggle as unemployment increases to 7.9% in Q1.

A new government report revealed unemployment rate rose to 2.47 million in Q1 of 2010, its highest level in 13 years.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 7.9 percent of the working population is now unemployed, a rise of 23,000 (0.1 percent) over the Q1 period.

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The number of employees and self-employed working part-time, due to a lack of work, also rose, increasing by 45,000 to 1.08 million, the highest since comparable records began in 1992.

The inactivity rate for the three months to April 2010 also rose by 0.1 to 21.5 per cent in the first quarter. The amount of inactive people of working age increased by 29,000 over the period, producing another record high at 8.19 million.

The number of people in the long-term sick category went up by 58,000 to reach 2.07 million.

On a positive note, the number of people unemployed for over 6 months dropped by 42,000, though the number who remained without jobs for over a year increased by 61,000.

Those seeking jobseeker’s allowance also decreased to 1.48 million, the first time since March 2009 it has been below 1.5 million.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said to the BBC: "What I want to make sure is that we don’t make the mistake of the past decade, where we completely failed to get people off benefits and into work at a time when jobs were being created.

"As the economy recovers and as the private sector creates jobs, I want to make sure those jobs do go, as far as they possibly can, to people who are struggling now, who are still on benefits, and who need a better and stronger future."

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