Unemployment throughout the UK is on the rise again. In fact the rate has increased to a near 17-year high after another rise in the jobless total to almost 2.7 million. The Office for National Statistics, which published its assessment of the impact of the strike on the labour market alongside the latest figures, said the last time a strike had such an impact was in 1989.

The info also shows that pay growth in the public sector, excluding the bailed-out banks, is running at just 1.4% a year, the slowest rate since comparable records began in 2001. Unemployment across the economy rose by 118,000 in the three months to November, to 2.68 million, the ONS said, in the latest sign that the UK slowed sharply in the autumn. However, not all is bad, the number of people in work increased by 9,000 in the quarter to January to 29.1 million, while the 28,000 increase in unemployment was the lowest for almost a year.

Unemployment amongst women accounted for most of the increase. Not only that, but the number of people working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 110,000 to 1.3 million, the highest since records began in 1992. Part-time employment rose by 60,000 to 6.6 million, while self-employment fell by 52,000 to just over four million. The government said the data showed the situation was “stabilising” but Labour said ministers were being “complacent”. The UK’s jobs crisis shows no signs of letting up, yet complacent ministers are failing to act

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