UNEMPLOYMENT hit its highest level since 1994 in the three months to October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed yesterday, with men faring worse than women.
Employment fell by 63,000, or 0.2 per cent, compared with the previous three months, taking the total to 29.1m. Unemployment rose 128,000 to 2.64m, or 8.3 per cent, with unemployment among 18 to 24 year olds up 46,000 to 815,000, or 19.8 per cent.
For 16 to18 year olds, the figure rose 8,000 to 211,000, or 39.1 per cent.
The claimant count increased by 3,000 last month and 138,600 in twelve months to November, taking the total to 1.599m.
Men bore the brunt of the job losses as unemployment shot up by 85,000 to nine per cent, with female unemployment up by 45,000 to 7.5 per cent.
Figures for the three months to September show the private sector created 5,000 jobs, down from 56,000 in the previous quarter, while the public sector lost 67,000, down from 126,000.
The private sector now accounts for 79.4 per cent of all jobs, up from 79.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2011 and up from 78.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2010.
Pay in both sectors is failing to keep pace with inflation. Private weekly earnings increased by 2.2 per cent to £461 in the year to October, compared with retail price inflation of 5.4 per cent over the same period.
Meanwhile public sector weekly pay increased by two per cent to £478, despite the ongoing “pay freeze.”
The ONS figures also revealed UK-born workers are suffering more than those born overseas. Employment fell by 311,000 in the year to the third quarter among those born in Britain, whilst an additional 181,000 born abroad have found jobs.