UK jobless ‘could reach 2.85 million this year’
By Vivienne Russell | 13 February 2012
UK unemployment could hit 2.85 million by the end of the
year, personnel experts warned today.
Labour market outlook
survey, published today by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development,
says the first quarter of 2012 will be the toughest for the job market since
the recession. Official unemployment figures are due out later this week.
The CIPD also warns of a widening North-South divide in
employment prospects, with the northern parts of the UK lagging increasingly
behind the south, which has seen some modest improvements.
A loss of economic confidence over the past three months has
led to more businesses deciding to cut jobs, the CIPD said. Employers planning
to make redundancies said they intended to shed an average of 4% of their
workforces, while six out of ten said they were not planning to create any new
roles in the next three months.
‘This will exert yet more pressure on a jobs market that is buckling
under the strains of contractions in economic growth and public sector
employment,’ said Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at the CIPD.
‘The fear is that these existing pressures, which include a
widening chasm between the employment prospects of those in the North and the South,
will become greater still if business conditions do not improve in the next few
CBI business lobby today said the mood of many businesses had improved and it was
cautiously optimistic about the economic outlook.
general John Cridland said: ‘Although risks remain, we expect growth this year,
improving modestly in 2013, primarily driven by positive net trade and business
pressure on household incomes will also ease slightly in the second half of
this year as inflation falls, resulting in a slight increase in consumer
spending. But weak wage growth and high levels of unemployment will continue to
be a brake on household spending'