By Max Clarke

Women are once again among the hardest hit as official unemployment figures revealed a rise to the highest level in over twenty years. And as the A-level results are released today, there are also concerns about the number of young people out of work creeping back up toward the 1 million mark.

The alarming figures have been published as part of the monthly Labour Market Statistics from the Office of National Statistics, which has also shown a rise in unemployment of 0.1% to 7.9% over the three months to June. This is the first time in three months that a rise has been reported but there are predictions that it will continue to rise on the back of falling business confidence and unsteady financial markets.

“The number of unemployed women out of work is at its highest since the eighties, which is a statistic we need to be worried about," commented Carmen Watson, Managing Director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership.

"Public sector cuts have disproportionately affected women but at a time when we’re hanging hopes on a recovery in the jobs market, as a nation, our competitiveness and economic success is dependent upon having a fully engaged workforce. Women make up a valuable contribution to the nation’s economy both as temporary and permanent workers. It’s an alarming trend that unemployment among this group is rising.

“Recently announced initiatives such as the new Enterprise Zones will seek to address the shortage of vacancies but a major priority will be engaging with the hard to reach sections of society who have been out of work for extended periods. So-called ‘troubled families’ and the young are rightly identified by the government as priority targets but results are required urgently to restore confidence.”

The rise in unemployment of 38,000 to 2.49 million follows a number of influential reports out this week, which includes the study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development/KPMG. The Labour Market Outlook which surveys 1,000 employers shows a fall on intended staff increase of -1, compared to +3 in the last quarter. Long term prospects are also disappointing with a fall in the twelve month index from +2 in the last quarter to -6 in this.

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