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Charles Levy
Senior Economist
Charles  Levy

A frozen labour market

Authors: Charles Levy Charles Levy

19 January 2011

Today’s labour market statistics from the ONS paint an icy scene. In the three months to December employment fell by 69,000 and unemployment increased by 49,000, compared to the previous three months. The total numbers claiming jobseekers allowance did fall, but this is a false friend – the figure is only down because people are withdrawing from the labour market, and that can’t be cause for optimism.

 Again, the young are being hit the hardest – more 16 to 24 year olds were unemployed in the three months to December than at any point since records began in 1992 (951,000, up 32,000 on the previous three months). If the labour market can’t create jobs for these new entrants, how can we hope that the private sector will mop up the large numbers expected to leave the public sector.

As with the weather, things in December were worst North of London, and were toughest in the West Midlands, Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East. Recovery will depend on strong performance across the UK economy – but still many of our regional economies are a very long way off thawing.