Norwich expert’s warning as unemployment reached a 17-year high

A leading Norwich insolvency practitioner has warned people to save for an unexpected change in circumstances as unemployment figures reached a 17-year high today.

There was a 118,000 increase in the jobless total, which saw a record number of young people out of work.

The figure jumped to 2.68m in the three months to November, the worst since the summer of 1994, giving the UK a jobless rate of 8.4pc.

The number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds increased by 52,000 over the quarter to 1.04m, the highest since records began in 1992.

And the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance in December increased by 1,200 to 1.6m, the highest for a year after the 10th consecutive monthly rise.

Insolvency body R3's spokesman for the East of England, Chris Williams of McTear Williams & Wood, said: 'This continued rise in unemployment is unsurprising and is likely to lead to increasing numbers of people with severe personal finance difficulties.

'Recent research by R3 found that 45pc of people were struggling to payday and 60pc were concerned about their level of debt. Furthermore 27pc of the population said they had no savings at all and 40pc were saving less than usual,' he said.

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'In these testing economic times, it is more important than ever that people save in preparation for an unexpected change in circumstances. For those who have found themselves out of work and are concerned about their personal finances, it is vital to seek advice early and prevent the serious debt that could lead to insolvency.'

Other figures showed that almost a million working days were lost in November as a result of the public sector pensions strike, the highest figure since 1989.

The Office for National Statistics reported that the number of people in full-time employment fell by 57,000 in the latest three months, but there was a 75,000 increase in part-time workers.

There was a 44,000 rise in the number of people working part-time or for themselves because they could not find a full-time job, taking the total to 1.3 million, the highest since comparable records began in 1992.

Employment increased by 18,000 to 29.12m, while the number of people classed as economically inactive fell by 61,000 to 9.29 million, a rate of 23.1pc.

The fall was mainly due to fewer women looking after a family or home, and fewer retired people under the age of 65.

Unemployment increased evenly among men and women in the latest quarter, while the number of people out of work for longer than two years increased by 1,000 to 424,000.

There was a 10,000 fall in the number out of work for more than a year to 857,000.

Average earnings increased by 1.9pc in the year to November, down by 0.2 percentage points on the previous month.