By Maximilian Clarke

A further 128,000 people joined the ranks of the unemployed over the past three months, the Office for National Statistics this morning confirmed, as youth unemployment climbed still higher to reach 22%.

Employment in the UK’s private sector did increase, though not be enough to reverse the worrying pattern of decline. But as crisis within the eurozone continues to dampen confidence, commentators have said that last month's slight rise in unemployment- the left the overall rate unchanged- can be interpreted as 'encouraging':

Clive Davis, Director of Robert Half UK observes a rise of employment of experienced workers in specialist roles, coming at the expense of broader private sector losses:

“It’s clear that we’re reaching a cross-roads in what appears to be a dual economy in the UK job market. As today’s ONS figures have shown, moderate gains in the private sector have not offset losses in the public sector, primarily in public administration and education. We’re still seeing demand for specialist roles in finance and IT and believe that these sectors will remain liquid over the coming months.

“Companies are targeting experienced individuals who can help them navigate an ever-changing economic landscape and in many cases are relying on specialised temporary and interim professionals to support key initiatives. Currently 18% of UK finance departments are comprised of temporary or interim employees and 63% of CFOs plan to add to these levels within the coming year.”

Richard Driver, forex analyst at Caxton FX observed that the rise in jobless did not alter the overall unemployment rate, and that the amidst the broader pattern of economic uncertainty the figures are in fact encouraging. He warned, however, that these figures do little to change the overall picture of a gloomy economic outlook here in the UK:

“On the face of it, the figures suggest that the labour market may not be as bad as anticipated moving forward. However, we still believe conditions in the labour market will continue to deteriorate looking ahead to 2012. Government austerity measures are taking their toll on employment numbers and will continue to do so for many months to come.

“The private sector is failing to pick up the slack left by private sector cuts and the picture for UK youth employment is looking very poor, with the figure alarmingly up at 20%. Wage growth is also down, which is no surprise, but at least consumer inflation is coming down.”

“The risks of another UK dip into recession are ever-increasing and today’s employment numbers do little to indicate otherwise. UK households will remain under pressure next year and circumstances are likely to worsen before they improve.”

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