U.K. Jobless Claims Rises


U.K. unemployment rose at the second- fastest pace since 1991 in December as the worsening recession prompted companies from retailers to automakers to cut jobs.

The number of people receiving jobless benefits rose 77,900 to 1.16 million, the highest level since January 2000, the Office for National Statistics said today in London.

Mounting job losses pile pressure on the Bank of England to cut the key interest rate from the current 1.5 percent, and Governor Mervyn King said yesterday that the bank may need to start buying assets within weeks to dig Britain out of its first recession since 1991. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged to create 100,000 jobs through public works programs.

The jobless total based on International Labor Organization methods rose 131,000 in the quarter through November to 1.92 million, the highest since September 1997. The rate climbed to 6.1 percent from 5.7 percent in the previous period. The rate compares with 7.2 percent in the euro region, 3.9 percent in Japan and 7.2 percent in the U.S. Employment fell 26,000 to 29.4 million.

Retailers, automakers, banks and builders axed thousands of jobs in recent weeks as the credit crisis intensified.

Claimant unemployment rose for an 11th month in December, and the increase in November was revised to 83,100 from 75,700. The unemployment rate rose to 3.6 percent from 3.3 percent in November.

Wage pressures eased, with pay including bonuses rising an annual 3.1 percent in the three months through November, down from a 3.3 percent pace in the period through October. Excluding bonuses, wage growth was unchanged at 3.6 percent.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
1/21/2009 5:05:32 AM