December 17, 2008

Jobless claims in Britain top 1 million

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits in Britain surpassed the 1 million mark in November, the Office for National Statistics said.

Jobless claims hit 1.07 million, a rise of 75,700 in November.

The total of unemployed is now at its highest level since January 2001, The Times of London reported Wednesday.

Frequently quoted economist Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight, said the unemployment jump, almost twice what economists had forecast, was, just a horrific set of data on the jobs front.

There can be absolutely no doubt that unemployment is headed sharply higher in 2009 given that the economy looks set to contract by at least 2 percent next year, he said.

Reports of companies laying off workers are becoming more and more prevalent, while an increasing number of companies are folding, Archer said.

The economist said that before the recession ends the number of people filing for unemployment benefits could reach 2 million with total unemployment hitting 3 million by the end of 2009.