• In the three months to September 2011, unemployment rose by 129,000 people and the number of those unemployed between the ages of 16-24 rose to over a million

Commenting on the labour market figures published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“These figures were disappointing but given both the worsening situation in the eurozone, and the impact of the government’s tough austerity plan, they are not surprising. The rise in youth unemployment to over a million is particularly concerning, but it should be stressed that more than a quarter of these are people in full-time education who are looking for part-time work.

“The immediate outlook is challenging as the private sector will find it difficult to immediately absorb those people who have lost their jobs in the public sector. We expect to see increases in the number of unemployed next year above 2.7m.

“Given these circumstances, the government must pursue policies that will strengthen the private sector’s ability to create jobs. Cutting red tape, and making it easier for people to acquire the necessary skills they need for employment are vital, but on their own will not suffice.

“The Autumn Statement will provide the Chancellor with an opportunity to introduce a comprehensive credit easing programme that will facilitate the flow of credit to businesses, most notably viable SMEs that find it difficult to access the necessary finance.”