At a time when the nation is doing its best to recover from recent upset caused by riots, the Office for National Statistics released a report that is adding fuel to the fire. With the largest increase in unemployment since May 2009, the government is under pressure to restore confidence in the economy.
With those claiming jobless benefits almost doubling figures predicted, there is growing cause for concern that the economy won’t be as easily restored as previously forecast. It was predicted that new jobless claims would increase by only 20,000 but the actual number was 37,100 in July.
Changes in benefit rules does account for a portion of the increase, but those changes cannot begin to account for such a drastic increase above what was forecast. Oddly enough, government claims that the labour market is ‘surprisingly robust’ which does tend to belie the figures released by the ONS.
Even so, much of this data is said to be the result of public employees being let go in an effort to ease the budget deficit. It is government’s contention that even though the labour market is strong, private firms do not have the capacity to provide jobs for the large number of recently unemployed public workers.
Amidst growing fears, Chancellor George Osborne is standing firmly behind his austerity drive which is cause for even greater concern amongst a large portion of the population. He still pledges to go forward with his side reforms that are intended to bolster the private sector whilst creating jobs.
The 11 new low tax enterprise zones are intended to create as many as 30,000 new jobs before the next election three years down the road. However, creating 30,000 jobs in a three year period when jobless claims were up by more than that last month alone doesn’t really give a sense of comfort to many who are without work.