Unemployment rises by 70,000 says ONS

The Momentum UK Team 17 April 2013

The number of unemployed in the UK rose by 70,000 between December 2012 and February 2013 according to labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

According to the ONS the increase of 70,000 pushes the total level of unemployment up to 2.56 million people. With 7.9% of the UK population unemployed many are questioning the future strength of the UK economy.

In addition to the reduced levels of employment , the ONS data also reveals a drop in the growth of earnings.

Average total pay rose by 0.8% between December 2012 and February 2013, whilst regular pay also rose by 1.0%. However, the rise in total pay is the lowest increase since September to November 2009, with the rise in regular pay being the lowest level since 2001, when records began.

The number of those claiming job seekers allowance (JSA) actually fell by 7,000 to 1.53 million.

The employment rate across the period was recorded at 7.9% of the economically active population, up by 0.2%, or 70,000 compared to the previous quarter, with a total of 2.56 million unemployed.

The mixed results of rising unemployment, coupled with falling JSA claims is represented by the 16-24 age group.

Ministers observe that the amount of JSA claimants actually fell in every region on the UK, and the total number of new claims was actually at its lowest in four years. This has seen a reduction in claims of 2,800, and is 65,400 fewer than last year.

Yet despite this the ONS data also showed that nearly one million have been out of work for more than a year, with an 8,000 increase between September to November 2013. Those aged 16-24 who are currently unemployed also rose by 20,000, to 979,000.

"It's not a disaster, but a lot of the froth and really good news we had over the last year on jobs is becoming exhausted, which shouldn't be a surprise when there is not much growth around." said Alan Clarke, economist at Scotiabank.

The minister for employment, Mark Hoban recognised that there was"still tough challenges ahead", but highlighted the importance of the fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JA), and especially the drop among young people.