Today’s ONS figures show that the unemployment rate in London is the second worse in the UK
One in 10 London adult is now unemployed, significantly higher than the UK average of 8.1 per cent, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released today.
London has the second highest unemployment rate in the UK at 10 per cent of those aged over 16. Only by the North East has a higher rate, 11.3 per cent.
London’s rate is up from 9 per cent in July-August 2010.
Nationally, the ONS figures show unemployment has reached a 17-year high, with the number of people out of work rising by 114,000 to 2.57 million in the three months to August. The number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work rose to 991,000, the highest total since 1992.
Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, Trade Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber said: “These are terrible figures. The government’s austerity measures have turned unemployment into a full-blown crisis – with job losses not seen since the darkest days of the recession.
“Worryingly, this is not simply the result of Eurozone troubles. This unemployment crisis is state sponsored, and areas like the North East are paying a heavy price with more than one in ten people out of work.
“The news for those in work is bleak too, with wage rises falling back to just 1.8 per cent and creating an even tighter squeeze on living standards.
“The chancellor’s plan A has sent unemployment to a 17-year high. This country urgently needs a plan B to get people back into work,” he added.
Private sector growth
Katja Hall, chief policy director at Confederation of British Industry, said that only private sector growth can put people to work.
“Today’s unemployment numbers make grim reading, especially for our young people. The continuing rise in youth unemployment is a grave concern for us all.
“Businesses are still creating jobs and only continuing private sector growth can help us out of the current tumult. With jobs falling in the public sector, it’s vital the government does everything it can to support businesses to grow and create jobs, and help young people get into work,” she said.
Policy change needed
Professor Philip Booth, editorial director at the Institute of Economic Affairs believes the youth unemployment figures signal the need for a change in government policy.
“For 15 years, successive governments have increased the regulatory burden on employers, something that has continued under the coalition. Attempts at deregulation under the current government have been overwhelmed by new regulatory burdens in the form of an extension of the minimum wage to younger people; increased maternity rights; compulsory pension provision; and the temporary workers’ directive. It has been estimated that these will cost £23bn by the end of the current parliament.
“Such regulation destroys job opportunities, especially for young people and those who have recently been employed. Experience in continental Europe suggests that there is a danger of a cycle of decline where the skills of the unemployed deteriorate and they find it even harder to get jobs so that unemployment terms lengthen and levels of joblessness settle at much higher levels,” he said.