It’s that time of year when the nights start drawing in until we get to the point where we go to work in the dark of the mornings and return home in the dark of the evenings.
But that’s not what the title of this post is referring to. I am, after all, from the north-east of England. A long, dark winter is second nature to me and I still won’t wear a coat. Besides, I’m holding out hope for an Indian summer. Slim hope, but hope all the same.
No the dark days I’m talking about are economic ones. Today we had the clearest signal yet that this country’s economy is still in big trouble. The Office of National Statistics released the latest unemployment figures and they make for grim reading. The unemployment rate for the three months to July 2011 was 7.9 per cent, up 0.3 on the quarter. The total number of unemployed people increased by 80,000 over the quarter to reach 2.51 million. The number of people claiming JSA has increased by 20,300 since July. There were 1.58 million people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in August 2011.
Not only did we have the biggest rise in unemployment for 2 years, but we also had a massive leap in youth unemployment beyond 78,000. UK unemployment, according to the ONS, is now rising faster than the Eurozone, Japan, and the United States.
As well as that, there was a drop of 6,000 in the number of vacancies over the same period. There are now 2.51 million people fighting over 453,000 vacancies. And that doesn’t take into account the extra unemployed people who haven’t made any claims and so go unidentified…
With public sector cuts almost three times higher than those in the private sector, and unemployment among women at its highest for 23 years, we know dark days are ahead for many people. And we know George Osborne is failing to do anything about it.
Dark days indeed!