U.K. Jobless Total Hits 2.2 million


The number of people out of work in the UK rose 244,000 to 2.22 million in the first three months of 2009, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. The jobless rate rose from 6.7% to 7.1%. Unemployment benefit claimants in April rose 57,100 to 1.51 million.

The unemployment rate was 7.1 per cent for the three months to March 2009, up 0.8 over the previous quarter and up 1.8 over the year. The number of unemployed people increased by 244,000 over the quarter and by 592,000 over the year, to reach 2.22 million. These are the largest quarterly increases in the unemployment level and rate since 1981.

The claimant count was 1.51 million in April 2009. It is up 57,100 over the previous month and up 710,700 over the year. The claimant count has not been higher since August 1997.

The redundancies level for the three months to March 2009 was 286,000, up 27,000 over the quarter and up 175,000 over the year. This is the highest figure since comparable records began in 1995.

Average earnings including bonuses fell by 0.4 per cent in the three months to March 2009 compared with the previous year. This negative annual growth rate is unprecedented since comparable records began in 1991 and is mainly due to lower bonuses in the financial sector. Average earnings excluding bonuses increased by 3.0 per cent in the three months to March 2009 compared with the previous year. This is the lowest annual growth rate since comparable records began in 2001.

There were 455,000 job vacancies in the three months to April 2009, down 51,000 over the previous quarter and down 232,000 over the year. These are the lowest vacancy figures since comparable records began in 2001. All sectors have shown falls in vacancies over the quarter with the largest fall occurring in finance and business services (down 17,000).

The inactivity rate for people of working age was 20.7 per cent for the three months to March 2009, down 0.1 over the previous quarter and down 0.2 over the year. The number of economically inactive people of working age fell by 29,000 over the quarter and by 43,000 over the year to reach 7.83 million.


TradingEconomics.com, U.K. Office for National Statistics
5/12/2009 9:26:00 AM