By Marcus Leach

At the end of a week that has showed worrying economic data such as joblessness in the UK rising to disturbing levels, predictions for the future of the employment market remain bleak.

Women emerged as the hardest hit group in the latest unemployment figures despite the fact that they could provide the vital ingredient needed to get the economy moving. The Labour Market Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics reveal unemployment among women is at its highest for over twenty years.

Vulnerable groups including women, but also young people are among the worst affected as unemployment climbed for the first time in three months.

Unemployment increased 0.1% to 7.9%, with the number of people out of work for up to six months hitting its highest level since June 2009. Economists have warned that these figures could continue to rise on the back of falling business confidence and unsteady financial markets.

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