Unemployment 'could top 2.85m within a year'

Job Centre Plus, Margate
Job Centre Plus, Margate

by business editor Trevor Sturgess

Unemployment is set to rise to 2.85 million by the end of 2012, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

The CIPD says that job creation by firms will not make up for the 120,000 jobs lost in the public sector.

National unemployment reached 2.64m last month, while the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance across Kent and Medway jumped 318 to 35,720 – up 5,000 on last year.

If the CIPD forecast proves correct, an unemployment rate of 8.8% would be the highest for five years. It expects the jobless total to rise further in the first half of 2013 to a peak of 2.9m, before falling back to 8.8% by the end of 2013.

But youth unemployment is set to be held around 0.92m because of targeted government measures. The CIPD forecasts that growth will stay below 2% until 2014.

Dr John Philpott, the CIPD's chief economic adviser, said the UK jobs market in 2012 would be weaker than at any time since the recession of the early 1990s.

He said: "The combination of worsening job shortages for people without work, mounting job insecurity and a further fall in real earnings for those in work may test the resilience and resolve of the UK workforce far more than it did in the recession of 2008-9, and foster a tetchy 'passive-aggressive' mood in many workplaces that could prove very hard to manage."

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