With all the furore of the budget, the latest UK unemployment statistics seemed to have been ignored somewhat by the media. On the face of it, of course, it’s not a riveting story with little change to existing figures. Unemployment rose by just 7,000 to 2.52m between November 2012 and January 2013 with the overall figure holding at 7.8%.
So not much to worry about then. Well we disagree. We think what concerns us is that this could mark a change in trend. Recently unemployment has been falling and while this seems to have been at odds with the state of the UK economy and poor manufacturing and construction data, it was an encouraging state of set of statistics.
We worry now that this is changing and unemployment — at least in the short term — will rise. With the economy struggling along, it’s just too unlikely that unemployment can do anything but rise again. Worryingly we’re predicting youth will be worst affected. Recent figures show the number of young people aged 16-24 without a job rose to 993,000 over the three months taking the youth unemployment rate to 21.2%. Not as horrific as some of our eurozone friends’ youth unemployment statistics but rather worrying nonetheless. And where is the work going to come from? With limited options the Chancellor has done little within the budget to assist this disenfranchised group. However in my view more needs to be done and urgent action is needed before, as the Prince’s Trust commented, ‘thousands more young people find themselves out of work’.