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Response to ONS figures

Latest figures show alarming rise in the number of people giving up the search for work
The latest unemployment figures reveal that almost 100,000 people gave up looking for work during the last three months of 2010, according to analysis by the leading think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research.
The official figures show that employment fell by 68,000 and unemployment rose by 44,000 in the last quarter. But even more worrying is that the number of people classified as economically inactive - that is neither in work nor looking for work - rose by 93,000. In the last two years, this number has gone up by 300,000 to reach 9.4 million.
The 93,000 rise includes 49,000 people choosing to retire early. The number of people economically inactive because of early retirement has now reached 1.57 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1993.
This increase, combined with increases in the number of younger people on inactive benefits, will make the deficit harder to reduce, because it means higher welfare bills and fewer people paying taxes. 
Tony Dolphin, Senior Economist at ippr, said:
These latest figures show that the employment landscape is looking so bleak that increasing numbers of people are giving up the search for work altogether.
While the vast majority of people who lose their job do manage to find a new one, people who give up looking for work are much less likely to ever re-enter the labour market There is a real risk that we are going back to the recessions of 1980s and 1990s when hundreds of thousands of people retired early or went onto long term benefits because they saw no prospect of getting a job. During that period the numbers on incapacity benefits trebled and we have lived with the consequences ever since.
As well as ruining individual lives, long term worklessness blights communities and destroys the future prospects of young people.  The government must use the Welfare Reform bill to outline ways in which more people can be kept in work or found work and the budget must include a bold strategy for growth and job creation.
Adecco response to ONS figures
Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director, Adecco - the UK's largest recruiter, said:
With unemployment figures decreasing again this month, there is still an imbalance between the number of new roles becoming available and the high proportion of people seeking employment. Until this has been properly addressed, the pain felt among today's job seekers will remain
- a trend which only looks set to worsen as further job losses in the public sector loom. While the steady stream of good quality candidates remains, allowing employers to benefit from a wide pool of strong, available talent, this does little to improve overall employment figures.
response from Institute for Employment Studies to todays ONS unemployment figures.More worrying news as unemployment continues to riseThere was more worrying news in the latest release from the Office for National Statistics. The number of people in work fell by 68,000 in the period October to December, while unemployment grew by 44,000 on the broader ILO measure, and by 2,400 on the claimant count in January. Inactivity was also up, by 93,000, driven in large part by a growing trend in early retirement which rose by 49,000.Nigel Meager, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, commented on the latest figuresThe latest figures suggest yet again that any recovery in the private sector is still too weak to offset the intensifying job loss in the public sector. Overall employment levels continued to fall, while unemployment was up again. Public sector redundancies are already running at 40 per cent more than a year ago, and the recent spate of redundancy warnings means that this is bound to accelerate.The figures again show the challenges faced by some groups of jobseekers. Long-term unemployment continues to rise, with 833,000 now out of work for more than a year. The number of unemployed young people also rose again and has reached 965,000, the highest figure since comparable data were collected. Young people have been severely affected by the continuing low level of vacancies and the difficulties they face in competing with more experienced job-seekers. The disappearance of government programmes to help young unemployed, and the removal of the Education Maintenance Allowance, which encourages young people to remain in further education, will not have helped the situation. Being unemployed in their teens or twenties has an impact on young peoples entire working life, and policy-makers cannot afford to neglect this.
REC calls for urgent Government action on young jobless
Unemployment figures out today from the Office for National Statistics show that over 20% of the UKs 16 to 24 years are not in employment, education or training. This is the highest since records began in 1992.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation believes offering incentives to private sector employers to hire young people is the most effective method of preventing a lost generation and is urging the Government to take immediate action on this issue.
This follows a warning earlier this week from former Cabinet Chief Economist Jonathan Portes who argued that without urgent action, hundreds of thousands of young people face dire career prospects throughout their lives.
Commenting on the latest figures, Kevin Green, the RECs Chief Executive said:  Having nearly one million young people not contributing to our economy is a huge waste of the UKs potential. The Government has already positioned itself as being pro jobs but we need to move beyond promises to real action now.
We are  reconvening our Youth Employment Taskforce next month for a meeting at the House of Lords so that leading businesses, recruiters and other stakeholders can review progress on the taskforces initial recommendations  and propose new ways of getting more young people into work.
He added: We will continue to press for the need for bridges to be built between Government, professional recruiters, education providers and employers. This is one of the practical recommendations put forward in the Taskforces Avoiding a Lost Generation report.  Upskilling young people, offering them real experience of the world of work through placements and apprenticeships has never been more crucial.


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