The recession continues to take a major toll on British workers.
The unemployment rate for the three months up to May hit its highest in 12 years. There was some good news as the number of people claiming jobless benefit rose by much less than expected last month. Economists said that suggested the rise in unemployment could be tailing off. However the claimant count rate rose to 1.56 million, the highest total since the Labour government came to power in 1997. Using the wider International Labour Organisation measure of unemployment, the jobless rate in the UK was up to 7.6 percent of the working population. And the number of people in work fell by 269,000 in the three months to May, the steepest decline since records began in 1971. The new figures can only reinforce UK policymakers’ caution about the timing and strength of any economic recovery.