Jobs to become scarcer

News that unemployment levels have risen to 2.494 million in the second quarter of the year indicates that the private sector is struggling, at the moment, to take up the slack caused by lay offs in the public sector.

That was the view of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) following the announcement of the latest official data on the UK's jobs market.

John Philpott, the CIPD's chief economic adviser, said that, after a few surprisingly upbeat quarters, the UK employment market has finally caught up with the reality of weaker demand in the private sector and the impact of mounting public sector job cuts.

Dr Philpott assessed the statistics as "a mix of ups and downs - unfortunately most of them bad news".

Unemployment is up (by 38,000 to 2.49 million on the quarterly Labour Force Survey measure and by 37,100 to 1.56 million as indicated by the number of people claiming the Jobseekers' Allowance).

Jobs were up for men (49,000) but down (24,000) for women, a clear signal, the CIPD said, of the impact of job cuts in the public sector.

Youth unemployment climbed by 15,000). Redundancies were up (32,000) but vacancies were down (22,000). While the number of people working part-time because they were unable to find a full-time job grew by 83,000 to 1.26 million.

Dr Philpott concluded: "The jobs market has clearly taken a turn for the worse since the start of the year with unemployment on the headline measure as well as the claimant measure now increasing.

"All that remains to be seen is how bad things get, but given everything else we know about the economic outlook for the UK economy this year and next it looks like the only way is up for unemployment."