Wednesday, 12 August 2009

UK unemployment - laid off white collar workers are too "posh" to claim

As outlined here the numbers of unemployed in the UK continue to mount

Unemployment in Britain jumped by 220,000 in the three months to June to 2.435 million, official data showed today, the highest level since 1995.

The Office for National Statistics said that the jobless rate was now 7.8% of the workforce - the highest since 1996, before Labour came to power.

The figures also showed a huge 271,000 drop in the number of people in work - the biggest fall since records began in 1971 although there was a similar fall in the February to April period this year.

The ONS also reported a relatively small rise of 25,000 in the number of people claiming job seeker's allowance. Under that measure there are now 1.58 million people claiming benefit, equivalent to 4.9% of the workforce which is the highest rate since October 1997.

One of the more remarkable features of the statistics is that the level of those claiming benefits is not rising commensurately with the numbers losing jobs. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many white collar, professionals who have been losing jobs in abundance are "too posh" to sign on for benefits and are currently depleting savings and redundancy payments.

Maybe it is a case of "Too posh to claim" now, but as the decimation of the traditional middle class carries on in the UK - it still has some catch-up to go before it reaches the levels now being witnessed in the US, there surely will be a capitulation and recognition that even WASP professionals can fall on hard times.

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