Unemployment in Britain shot up during the summer at its fastest pace since the recession of the early 1990s. Economists are predicting even bigger jobless rises ahead as the financial crisis takes its toll on a wide variety of companies. The housing market slump is particularly hitting the construction industry.
Building worker Max Davies, signing on for unemployment benefit for the first time, said: “I’ve gone for lots of jobs and just kept on getting rejected. I think there are so many people now in my position, labourers and other people on site (construction workers), who are just struggling to find jobs, because there is such a lack of work there and so many people trying to get them.”
The jobless rate jumped half a percentage point to 5.7 percent, its biggest increase since July 1991. And the latest jobs figures are for the period before the credit crunch started to really tighten its grip in the last month.
A member of the Bank of England’s Policy Committee, David Blanchflower, has predicted that UK unemployment, which currently stands at just under 1.8 million, could top two million by Christmas.
And there are more dire forecasts from across the Atlantic. New York City’s economy could lose as many as 165,000 jobs in the next two years because of the credit crisis. That is the latest estimate from the man in charge of the city’s finances, Comptroller William Thompson. Wall Street is New York’s most important industry, accounting for nearly a quarter of all the city’s wages and around 10 percent of its tax revenues.