Unemployment tops 2.44m

Unemployment has hit 2.44m, the highest level since 1995, according to figures from Office for National Statistics.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), says: “The REC’s figures showed that the decline in permanent staff appointments accelerated again in July following four months of relative stabilisation. This latest ‘relapse’ echoes the ongoing feedback from recruiters on the ground. On a more positive note, the rate of contraction for temporary and contract work eased to the slowest in 10 months which confirms that flexible working options will provide a crucial outlet for both job-seekers over the coming months,” says Green.

“This mirrors the pattern in previous recessions where the temporary market has bounced back first.”

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), adds: “There has been a worrying increase in unemployment over recent months, and unless there is an indication that this trend is abating, it is highly likely that the jobless total will rise above 3m next year.”