David Blanchflower

There were some desperately disappointing unemployment and employment numbers published for the UK economy today. Even taking due note of the need not to focus too much on one set of data the UK labour market looks to be weakening as fast as the autumn leaves are falling. The human and social cost of the high jobless figures is enormous and the macroeconomic effect of fewer people in work and paying taxes will dent further hopes of a solid recovery.

UK unemployment rates

In summary:

The number of people without a job on the ILO measure jumped by 114,000 in the three months to August to 2.57 million, the highest total since October 1994.

The LFS jobless rate hit 8.1 percent, the highest since 1996.

Youth unemployment rose to 991,000, its highest since records began in 1992

The jobless rate among eligible 16- to 24-year-olds has grown to 21.3 percent - in some areas it is much higher than this - as Hugh Pym reports on the BBC news tonight

Employment is down - the number of people in work dropped 178,000 in the 3 months covering June - August

There is a sharp fall in employment among older workers - the FT reports that over-65s accounted for 74,000 of a drop of 178,000 in employment to 29.1m in the quarter – the biggest fall in that age group since records began in 1992

This 5 minute video from the ONS provides an overview of the UK labour market in October 2011 and commentary on the last unemployment statistics:

Vacancies in the UK labour market

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